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.ifourtf) lE&itton, in CTtoo Volumes 









The End of the Life of Mankind on Earth is this, that 
in this Life they may order all their relations with Free 
dom according to Reason. This Earthly Life may be 
divided into Five Principal Epochs. 


To which of these Epochs does the Present Age belong? 
Fundamental principle of the Third Age : Innate Com 
mon Sense serves it as the measure of all Reality. General 
description of its Secular and Religious system conse 
quent on this principle. Its elevation of Experience as the 
highest criterion its Scientific Scepticism its Artistic, 
Political, Moral and Religious principles. 


The Life according to Reason in contrast with the life 
of such an Age consists in this, that the Life of the In 
dividual should be dedicated to that of the Race, or to 
Ideas. An experiment on the minds of the audience, 
whether they can withhold their approval, admiration 
and reverence from such a Life. What necessarily follows 
from the successful result of such a test. 


Continuation of the experiment. Description of the en 
joyment of the Life in the Idea by any one who truly and 
in reality lives this Life. 

In order thoroughly to understand an Age such as the 
present, assuming it to belong to the Third Epoch, it ig 
necessary to begin with a study of its Scientific Condition. 
The Form of this condition. Feebleness in pursuit and 
communication of Knowledge. Weariness which it seeks 
to relieve by Wit, which is however inaccessible to it. 

Description of the Scientific Condition of the Third Age 
in its Material. Ideas of Intellectual Freedom and of 
Public Opinion, Superfluity of Writing and Reading. 

. Literary Journals. Art of Heading. 

AND ITS IDEAL CONDITION, . . . page 105 
How the Printed Letter acquired the high value it 
possesses in the Third Age. How, in contrast with such 
an Age, the Scientific and Literary World ought to be 

The Reaction of the Third Age against itself by the set 
ting-up of the Incomprehensible as its highest principle. 
How does this phenomenon arise, viz., the setting-up 
of a specific and defined formula of the Incomprehensible ? 
Definition of Mysticism, especially of Scientific Mysticism. 

The remaining characteristics and peculiarities of any Age 
depend upon its Social Condition, and especially upon the 
State, and are to be defined thereby. Hence, before far 
ther delineation of the Third Age, it must first be ascer 
tained to what stage of its development the State has at 
tained in this Age. This can be done only by means of 
History and therefore we must in the first place set forth 
generally our view of History. Exposition of this view. 

The Idea of the State in its Absolute Form. Three pos 
sible fundamental forms of the actual State in its progress 
towards perfection. Distinction between Civil and 
Political Freedom. 

Material of the Absolute State. 


How the State had its beginning in Central Asia, and how 
it attained in Greece and Rome to Equality of .Right for 
All, as its second stage of development. Union of the 
whole existing Culture in ono single State in the Roman 


Destruction of the Roman Empire, and the creation of a 
New State as well as an entirely New Era by means of 


Freer development of the State after the fall of the Spiri 
tual Central Power in the several States of the one and 
undivided Christian Republic of Nations. This develop 
ment ensured by the necessary care of each individual 
State for its OAvn preservation in the general struggle for 
aggrandizement. Establishment of Equality of Rights for 
AIL The effort of the State to make all its Citizens, in 
the highest possible degree, the instruments of its purposes, 
may be taken as the fundamental political characteristic 
of the Age. 

General and Public Manners of the Age. 

Religious characteristics of the Age. 

XVII. CONCLUSION, ....... page 271 

Concluding Lecture on the true purpose and possible result 
of these Lectures. 

Note. The reader will do well to bear in niind that the Present Age 
characterized in these lectures was the great transition period of Modern 
Europe, the Age of Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot and the Encyclopaedists on 
the one hand, and of Lessing, Kant, Goethe and Schiller on the other. Tu. 



WE now enter upon a series of meditations which, never 
theless, at bottom contains only a single thought, con 
stituting of itself one organic whole. If I could at once 
communicate to you this single thought in the same clear 
ness with which it must necessarily be present to my own 
mind before I begin my undertaking, and with which it 
must guide me in every word which I have now to address 
to you, then from the first step of our progress, perfect 
light would overspread the whole path which we have to 
pursue together. But I am compelled gradually, and in 
your own sight, to build up this single thought out of its 
several parts, disengaging it at the same time from various 
modifying elements : this is the necessary condition of 
every communication of thought, and only by this its 
fundamental law does that which in itself is but one 
single thought become expanded and broken up into a 
series of thoughts and meditations. 

Such being the case, and especially as I am not here to 
repeat what has been already known of old, but to put 
forth new views of things, I must request of you at the 
outset not to be surprised if our subject does not at first 
manifest that clearness which, according to the laws of all 
communication of thought, it can acquire only through 



subsequent development ; and I must entreat you to look 
for perfect light only at our conclusion, when a complete 
survey of the whole shall have become possible. Never 
theless it is the duty of every man who undertakes to 
propound any subject whatever, to take care that each 
separate thought shall assume its proper place in his 
arrangement, and be produced there with all the distinct 
ness which it is possible to throw around it in that place, 
at least for those who can appreciate distinct language, 
and are capable of following a connected discourse ; and I 
shall use my most earnest efforts to fulfil this duty. 

With this first and only premonition, let us now, with 
out farther delay, proceed to our subject. 

A philosophical picture of the Present Age is what we 
have promised in these lectures. But that view only can 
be called philosophical which refers back the multiform 
phenomena which lie before us in experience to the unity 
of one common principle, and, on the other hand, from 
that one principle can deduce and completely explain those 
phenomena. The mere Empiricist who should undertake 
a description of the Age would seize upon some of its 
most striking phenomena, just as they presented them 
selves to casual observation, and recount these, without 
having any assured conviction that he had understood 
them all, and without being able to point out any other 
connexion between them than their coexistence in one and 
the same time. The Philosopher who should propose to 
himself the task of such a description would, indepen 
dently of all experience, seek out an Idea of the Age 
(which indeed in its own form, as Idea, cannot be ap 
parent in experience), and exhibit the mode in which this 
Idea would reveal itself under the forms of the necessary 
phenomena of the Age ; and in so doing he would distinctly 
exhaust the circle of these phenomena, and bring them 
forth in necessary connexion with each other, through the 


common Idea which lies at the bottom of them all. The 
first would be the Chronicler of the Age ; the second would 
have made a History of it a possible thing. 

In the first place, if the Philosopher must deduce from 
the unity of his presupposed principle all the possible 
phenomena of experience, it is obvious that in the fulfil 
ment of this purpose he does not require the aid of ex 
perience ; that in following it out he proceeds merely as a 
Philosopher, confining himself strictly within the limits 
which that character imposes upon him, paying no respect 
whatever to experience, and thus absolutely a priori, as 
this method is termed in scientific phraseology ; and in 
respect to our own subject it is clear that he must be able 
a priori to describe Time as a whole, and all its possible 
Epochs. It is an entirely different question whether the 
present time be actually characterized by the phenomena 
that are deduced from the principle which he may lay down, 
and thus whether the Age so pictured by the speaker be 
really the Present Age, should he maintain such a posi 
tion, as we, for example, shall maintain it. On this part 
of the subject every man must consult for himself the 
experience of his life, and compare it with the history of 
the Past, as well as with his anticipations of the Future ; 
for here the business of the Philosopher is at an end, and 
that of the Observer of the world and of men begins. 
We, for our part, intend to be no more than philosophers 
in this place, and have bound ourselves to nothing more ; 
and thus the final judgment, so soon as you are in a posi 
tion to pass such a judgment, must devolve upon you. It 
is now our business, in the first place, strictly to settle and 
define our theme. 

, Thus then : Every particular Epoch of Time, as we have 

; already -hinted above, is the fundamental Idea of a parti- 

Qular Age. These Epochs and fundamental Ideas of 

particular Ages, however, can only be thoroughly under- 

\ stood by and through each other, and by means of their 


relation to Universal Time. Hence it is clear that the 
Philosopher, in order to be able rightly to characterize any 
individual Age and, if he will, his own must first have 
understood a priori and thoroughly penetrated into the 
signification of Universal Time and all its possible Epochs. 

This comprehension of Universal Time, like all philoso 
phical comprehension, again presupposes a fundamental 
Idea of Time ; an Idea of a fore-ordered, although only 
gradually unfolding, accomplishment of Time, in which 
each successive period is determined by the preceding ; 
or, to express this more shortly and in more common 
phraseology, it presupposes a World-plan, which, in its 
primitive unity, may be clearly comprehended, and from 
which may be correctly deduced all the great Epochs of 
human life on Earth, so that they may be distinctly under 
stood both in their origin, and in their connexion with 
each other. The former, the World-plan, is the funda 
mental Idea of the entire life of Man on Earth ; the latter, 
the chief Epochs of this life, are the fundamental Ideas 
of particular Ages of which we have spoken, from which 
again the phenomena of these Ages are to be deduced. 

We have thus, in the first place, a fundamental Idea of 
the entire life of Man, dividing itself into different Epochs, 
which can only be understood by and through each other; 
each of which Epochs is again the fundamental Idea of a 
particular Age, and is revealed in manifold phenomena 

The life of Mankind on this Earth stands here in place 
yof the One Universal Life, and Earthly Time in place of 
Universal Time ; such are the limits within which we 
are confined by the proposed popular character of our dis 
courses, since it is impossible to speak at once profoundly 
and popularly of the Heavenly and Eternal. Here, I say, 
and in these discourses only, shall this be so ; for, strictly 
speaking, and in the higher flights of speculation, Human 
Life on Earth, and Earthly Time itself, are but necessary 


Epochs of the ONE TIME and of the ONE ETERNAL LIFE ; 
and this Earthly Life with all its subordinate divisions 
may be deduced from the fundamental Idea of the ETER 
NAL LIFE already accessible to us here below. It is our 
present voluntary limitation alone which forbids us to 
undertake this strictly demonstrable deduction, and per 
mits us here only to declare the fundamental Idea of the 
Earthly Life, requesting every hearer to bring this Idea 
to the test of his own sense of truth, and, if he can, to 
approve it thereby. Life of MANKIND on Earth, we have 
said, and Epochs of this Life. We speak here only of the 
progressive Life of the Race, not of the Individual, which 
last in all these discourses shall remain untouched, and 
I beg of you never to lose sight of this our proper point 
of view. 

The Idea of a World-Plan is thus implied in our inquiry, 
which, however, I am not at this time to deduce from the 
fundamental Idea indicated above, but only to point out. 
I say therefore, and so lay the foundation of our rising 
edifice, the End of the Life of Mankind on EartJi is this, 
that in this Life they may order all their relations with 
FREEDOM according to REASON. 

With FREEDOM, I have said ; their own Freedom, 
the Freedom of Mankind in their collective capacity, as 
a Eace : and this Freedom is the_st^accessory condition 
of our fundamental principle which I intend at present to 
pursue, leaving the other conditions, which may likewise 
need explanation, to the subsequent lectures. This Free 
dom becomes apparent in the collective consciousness of 
the Race, and it appears there as the proper and peculiar 
Freedom of the Race ; as a true and real fact ; the 
product of the Race during its Life and proceeding from 
its Life, so that the absolute existence of the Race itself 
is necessarily implied in the existence of the fact and pro 
duct thus attributed to it. (If a certain person has done 
something, it is unquestionably implied in that fact that 


the person has been in existence prior to the deed, in 
order that he might form the resolution so to act ; and 
also during the accomplishment of the deed, in order that 
he might carry his previous resolution into effect ; and 
every one might justly accept the proof of non-existence at 
a particular time, as equivalent to the proof of non-activity 
at the same time. In the same way, if Mankind, as a 
Race, has done something, and appeared as the actor in 
such deed, this act must necessarily imply the existence 
of the Race at a time when the act had not yet been ac 

As an immediate consequence of this remark, the Life 
of Mankind on Earth divides itself, according to the fun 
damental Idea which we have laid down, into two principal 
Epojihg^or Ages : the one in which the Race exists and 
lives without as yet having ordered its relations with FREE 
DOM according to REASON ; and the other in which this 
voluntary and reasonable arrangement is brought about. 

To begin our farther inquiry with the first Epoch ; it 
does not follow, because the Race has not yet, by its own 
free act, ordered its relations according to Reason, that 
therefore these relations are not ordered by Reason ; and 
hence the one assertion is by no means to be confounded 
Avith the other. It is possible that Reason of itself, by its 
own power, and without the cooperation of human Free 
dom, may have determined and ordered the relations of 
Mankind. And so it is in reality. Reason is the FIRST LAW 
of the Life of a Race of Men, as of all Spiritual Life ; and 
in this souse and in no other shall the word Reason bo 
used in these lectures^JWithout the living activity of this 
law a Race of Men could never have come into existence ; 
or, even if it could be supposed to have attained to being, 
it could not, without this activity, maintain its existence 
for a single moment. Hence, where Reason cannot as yet 
work by Freedom, as in the first Epoch, it acts as a law or 
power of Nature ; and thus may be present in conscious- 


ness and active there, only without insight into the 
grounds of its activity ; or, in other words, may exist as 
mere feeling, for so we call consciousness without insight. 

In short, to express this in common language : Reason 
acts as blind Instinct, where it cannot as yet act through 
Free Will. It acts thus in the first Epoch of the Life of 
Mankind on Earth ; and this first Epoch is thereby more 
closely characterized and more strictly defined. 

By means of this stricter definition of the first Epoch, 
we are also enabled, by contrast, more strictly to define 
the second. Instinct is blind ; a consciousness without 
insight. .Freedom, as the opposite of Instinct, is thus 
seeing, and clearly conscious of the grounds of its activity. 
But the sole ground of this free activity is Reason; 
Freedom is thus conscious of Reason, of which Instinct 
was unconscious. Hence, between the dominion of Reason 
through mere Instinct, and the dominion of the same 
Reason through Freedom, there arises an intermediate 
condition, the Consciousness or Knowledge of Reason. 

But further : Instinct as a blind impulse excludes 
Knowledge ; hence the birth of Knowledge presupposes a 
liberation from the compulsive power of Instinct as already 
accomplished ; and thus between the dominion of Reason 
as Instinct and that of Reason as Knowledge, there is 
interposed a third condition, that of Liberation from 
Reason as Instinct. 

But how could humanity free itself, or even wish to free 
itself, from that Instinct which is the law of its existence, 
and rules it with beloved and unobtrusive power? or how 
could the one Reason which while it speaks in Instinct, is 
likewise active in the impulse towards Freedom, how 
could this same Reason come into conflict and opposition 
with itself in human life ? Clearly not directly ; and hence 
a new medium must intervene between the dominion of 
Reason as Instinct, and the impulse to cast off that do 
minion. This medium arises in the following way : the 


results of Season as Instinct are seized upon by the more 
powerful individuals of the Race ; in whom, on this very 
account, that Instinct speaks in its loudest and fullest 
tones, as the natural but precipitate desire to elevate the 
whole race to the level of their own greatness, or rather to 
put themselves in the room and place of the Race ; and 
by them it is changed into an external ruling Authority, 
upheld through outward constraint ; and then among other 
men Reason awakes in another form as the impulse to 
wards Personal Freedom, which, although it never opposes 
the mild rule of the inward Instinct which it loves, yet 
rises in rebellion against the pressure of a foreign Instinct 
which has usurped its rights ; and in this awakening it 
breaks the chains, not of Reason as Instinct itself, but 
of the Instinct of foreign natures clothed in the garb of 
external power. And thus the change of the individual 
Instinct into a compulsive Authority becomes the medium 
between the dominion of Reason as Instinct and the lib 
eration from that dominion. 

And finally, to complete this enumeration of the neces 
sary divisions and Epochs of the Earthly Life of our Race : 
We have said that through liberation from the dominion 
of Reason as Instinct, the Knowledge of Reason becomes 
possible. By the laws of this Knowledge, all the relations 
of Mankind must be ordered and directed 

^act. But it is obvious that mere cognizance of the law, 
which nevertheless is all that Knowledge of itself can give 
us, is not sufficient for the attainment of this purpose, but 
that there is also needed a peculiar knowledge of action, 
which can only be thoroughly acquired by practice, in a 
word, Art. This Art of ordering the whole relations of 
Mankind according to that Reason which has been already 
consciously apprehended, (for in this higher sense we shall 
always use the word Art when we employ it without ex 
planatory remark) this Art must be universally applied 
to all the relations of Mankind, and realized therein, 


until the Kace become a perfect image of its ej 
arfihet.ypp. \f\ "Reason ; and then shall the purpose of this 
Earthly Life be attained, its end become apparent, and 
Mankind enter upon the higher spheres of Eternity. 

Thus have we endeavoured to pre-figure the whole 
Earthly Life of Man by a comprehension of its purpose ; 
to perceive why our Race had to begin its Existence here, 
and by this means to describe the whole present Life of 
humankind : this is what we wished to do, it was our first 
task. There are, according to this view, Five Principal 
Epochs of Earthly Life, each of which, although taking its 
rise in the life of the individual, must yet, in order to 
become an Epoch in the Life of the Race, gradually lay 
hold of and interpenetrate all Men ; and to that end must 
endure throughout long periods of time, so that the great 
Whole of Life is spread out into Ages, which sometimes seem 
to cross, sometimes to run parallel with each other : 1st, 
The Epoch of the unlimited dominion of Reason as Instinct : 
the State of Innocence of the Human Race. 2nd, The 
Epoch in which Reason as Instinct is changed into an ex 
ternal ruling Authority; the Age of positive Systems of 
life and doctrine, which never go back to their ultimate 
foundations, and hence have no power to convince but on 
the contrary merely desire to compel, and which demand 
blind faith and unconditional obedience : the State of pro 
gressive Sin. 3rd, The Epoch of Liberation, directly from 
the external ruling Authority indirectly from the power 
of Reason as Instinct, and generally from Reason in any 
form; the Age of absolute indifference towards all truth, 
and of "elitire^anT^nrestfained licentiousness : the State 
of complefed f ~~S infuTness. 4>th, The Epoch of Reason as 
Knowledge ; the Age in which Truth ic look 

and loved before all other things : the State of 
progressive Justification. 5th, The Epoch of Reason as 
Art ; the Age in which Humanity with more sure and 
unerring hand builds itself up into a fitting image and 



representative of Reason : the State of completed Justifi 
cation and Sanctification. Thus, the whole progress which, 
upon this view, Humanity makes here below, is only a 
retrogression to the point on which it stood at first, and has 
nothing in view save that return to its original condition. 
But Humanity must make this journey on its own feet ; by 
its own strength it must bring itself back to that state in 
which it was once before without its own cooperation, and 
which, for that very purpose, it must first of all leave. 
If Humanity could not of itself re-create its own true 
being, then would it possess no real Life ; and then were 
there indeed no real Life at all, but all things would re 
main dead, rigid, immoveable. In Paradise, to use a 
well-known picture, in the Paradise of innocence and 
well-being, without knowledge, without labour, without art, 
Humanity awakes to life. Scarcely has it gathered courage 
to venture upon independent existence when the Angel 
comes with the fiery sword of compulsion to good and 
drives it forth from the seat of its innocence and its peace. 
Fugitive and irresolute it wanders through the empty waste, 
scarcely daring to plant its foot firmly anywhere lest the 
ground should sink beneath it. Grown bolder by necessity, 
it settles in some poor corner, and in the sweat of its 
brow roots out the thorns and thistles of barbarism from 
the soil on which it would rear the beloved fruit of know 
ledge. Enjoyment opens its eyes and strengthens its 
hands, and it builds a Paradise for itself after the image 
of that which it has lost ; the tree of Life arises ; it 
stretches forth its hand to the fruit, and eats, and lives in 

This is the delineation of Earthly Life as a whole and in 
all its various Epochs, which is necessary for our present 
purpose. As surely as our present Age is a part of this 
Earthly Life, which no one can doubt ; and further, as 
surely as there are no other possible Epochs of the Earthly 
Life but the five which we have indicated, so surely 


does our Present Age belong to one of these. It shall be 
my business to point out, according to my knowledge and 
experience of the world, to which of these five it belongs, 
and to unfold the necessary phenomena in which the 
principles above stated must manifest themselves ; and it 
will te yours to consider and observe whether you have not 
encountered these phenomena during your whole life both 
internal and external, and do not still encounter them ; 
and this shall be the business of our future lectures. 

The Present Age considered as a whole, I mean ; for 
since, as I have remarked above, different Ages may, in 
perfect accordance with their spiritual principle, coexist in 
one and the same chronological Time, and even cross or run 
parallel to each other in different individuals, so it may 
be anticipated that such will be the case in our own Age, 
and hence that our application of the a priori principle to 
the present condition of the world and of humanity may 
not embrace all men alive in the present Time, but only 
those who are truly products of the Age and in whom it 
most completely reveals itself. One may be behind his 
Age, because in the course of his culture he has not come 
into contact with a sufficiently extensive mass of his fellow- 
men, but has been trained in some narrow circle which is 
only a remnant of a former Time. Another may be in 
advance of his Age, and bear in his breast the germs of a 
future Time, while that which has become old to him still 
rules around him in true, actual, present and efficient 
power. Finally, Science raises itself above all Ages 
anji all Times, embracing and apprehending the ONE 
UNCHANGING TIME as the higher source of all Ages 
and Epochs, and grasping that vast idea in its free, unboun 
ded comprehension. None of these three can be included 
in the picture of any present Age. 

The object of our lectures in this course, during the 
present winter, is now strictly defined, and, as it seems to 
me, clearly enough set forth and announced ; and such 


was tlie purpose of to-day s address, Allow me, further, a 
few words on the external form of these discourses. 

Whatever maybe our judgment upon the Present Age, 
and in whatever Epoch we may feel ourselves compelled to 
place it, you are not to expect here either the tone of lamen 
tation or of satire, particularly of a personal description. 
Not of lamentation : for it is the sweetest reward of 
Philosophy that, looking upon all things in their mutual 
dependence, and upon nothing as isolated and alone, she 

I finds all to be necessary and therefore good, and accepts 
that which is, as it is, because it is subservient to a higher 
end. Besides, it is unmanly to waste in lamentation over 
existing evil the time which would be more wisely applied 
in striving, so far as in us lies, to create the Good and the 
Beautiful. Not of satire : an infirmity which affects the 
whole race, is no proper object for the scorn of an individual 
who belongs to that race, and who, before he could depict it, 
must himself have known it and cast it off. But individuals 
disappear altogether from the view of the philosopher, and 
are lost in the one great commonwealth. His thought em 
braces all objects in a clear and consequential light, which 
they can never attain amid the endless fluctuations of reali 
ty ; hence it does not concern itself with individuals and, 
never descending to portraits, dwells in the higher sphere of 
idealized conception. As to the advantages derivable from 
considerations of this kind, it will be better to leave you 
to judge for yourselves after you have gone through some 
considerable portion of them, than to say much in praise of 
them beforehand. No one is further than the philosopher 
from the vain desire that his Age should be impelled 
forward to some obvious extent through his exertions. 
Every one, indeed, to whom God has given strength and 
opportunity, should exert all his powers for this end, were 
it only for his own sake, and in order to maintain the place 
which has been assigned to him in the ever-flowing current 
of For the rest, Time rolls on in the steadfast 


course marked out for it from eternity, and individual effort 
can neither hasten nor retard its progress. Only the co 
operation of all, and especially of the indwelling Eternal 
SpiriLflLAges and of Worlds, may promote it. 

As to my present labours, it will be to me a nattering 
reward, if a cultivated and intelligent audience shall pass a 
few hours of this half year in an agreeable and worthy man 
ner, raised above the business and pleasures of every-day 
life into a freer and purer region, a more spiritual atmos 
phere. Above all, should it happen that upon some young 
and powerful mind a spark may fall which shall dwell and 
live there, and perhaps develop my feeble thoughts into 
better and more perfect results, and kindle a vigorous de 
termination to realize them, then would my reward be 

In this spirit I have been induced to invite you to such 
lectures as the present ; in this spirit I now take my leave 
of you, and leave it to your own judgment whether you 
desire to proceed further in my company. 

(15 ) 



IN the first place, let him who desires to be met with the 
same hoDest purpose which I presume leads him here, cast 
back a kindly glance upon our former lecture. It appears 
that many of this assembly have not been able altogether to 
follow the greater part of that which I said at the begin 
ning of my previous address. In so far as this may have 
any other cause than want of acquaintance with the style, 
voice, and manner of the lecturer, and the novelty of the 
whole situation, all of which may be overcome by a few 
minutes custom, allow me, as some consolation should 
the like happen again, to add the following : That which 
some of my hearers have been unable thoroughly to 
comprehend, does not so much belong to the subject itself, 
as to the practice of the art which we now employ, the 
art of philosophizing. It is serviceable to us in finding 
an introduction and commencement in the circle of other 
knowledge from which to set forth our subject, and in 
strictly defining our point of separation from this system of 
knowledge ; it is a part of the account which we teachers 
and masters must render of our manner of working. Every 
other art, as poetry, music, painting, may be practised 
without the process showing forth the rules according to 
which it is conducted ; but in the self-cognizant art of 


the philosopher no step can be taken without declaring 
the grounds upon which it proceeds ; and in it theory and 
practice go hand in hand. It was necessary for me to 
proceed in this way on the former occasion, and in similar 
circumstances I must proceed in the same way again. But 
if any one choose to admit beforehand, and without further 
proof, that I proceed correctly and according to the rules 
of my art, and will calmly and candidly test, by his own 
natural sense of truth, that which I have laid down as 
the foundation of the edifice, such an one will lose nothing 
essential by thus missing the scientific explanation ; and it 
will be perfectly sufficient for our present purpose if, out 
of that which we laid down in our former lecture, he has 
thoroughly understood and accepted the following proposi 
tions, and has retained them in his memory, so that he may 
connect with them what we have further to lay before you. 
He must, I say, thoroughly understand, accept, and keep 
in mind the following : The life of the Human Race does 
not depend upon blind chance ; nor is it, as is often super 
ficially pretended, everywhere alike, so that it has always 
been as it is now and will always so remain ; but it proceeds 
and moves onward according tp_a settled plan which must 
necessarily be fulfilled, and therefore shall certainly be ful 
filled. This plan is that the Kace shall in this Life and 
with freedom mould and cultivate itself into a pure and ex 
press Image of Reason. The whole Life of Man is divided 
I am now supposing that the strict derivation of this has 
not been thoroughly understood or has been forgotten, the 
whole Life of Man is divided intone principal Epochs : 
that in which Reason governs in the form of blind Instinct; 
that in which this Instinct is changed into an external 
ruling Authority ; that in which the dominion of this Au 
thority, and with it that of Reason itself, is overthrown ; 
that in which Reason and its laws are understood with 
clear consciousness ; and finally, that in which all the re 
lations of the Race shall be directed and ordered by perfect 


Art and perfect Freedom according to Reason : and, in order 
to impress these different Epochs firmly upon your memory 
by means of a sensuous representation, we made use of the 
universally known picture of Paradise. Further, he must 
understand that the Present Age, to which especially our 
present purpose refers, must fall within one or other of these 
five Epochs ; that we have now to set forth the fundamental 
Idea of this Epoch, distinguishing it from the other four, 
which, except for the purposes of illustrating our own, we 
may here lay out of view ; and that from this fundamental 
Idea we must deduce the peculiar phenomena of the Age 
as its necessary consequences. At this point our second 
lecture begins. 

And so let us set forth with declaring at what point of 
the whole Earthly life of the Race we place our Present 
Age. I, for my part, hold that the Present Age stands 
precisely in the middle of Earthly Time ; and as we may 
characterize the two first Epochs of our scheme (in which 
Reason rules first directly as Instinct, and then indirectly 
as Instinct through Authority) as the one Epoch of the 
dominion of blind or unconscious Reason; and in like 
manner the two last Epochs in our scheme (in which Reason 
first appears as Knowledge,and then, by means of Art, enters 
upon the government of Life) as the one Epoch of the do 
minion of seeing or conscious Reason ; sjo the Present^Age 
unites the ends of two essentially different 

Wojld of Darkness and that of Light, the World of Con 
straint and that of Freedom, without itself belonging to 
either of them. In other words, the Present Age, accord 
ing to my view of it, stands in that Epoch which in my 
former lecturel named the THIRD, and which I characterized 
as the Epoch of Liberation directly from the external ruling 
Authority, indirectly from the power of Reason as Instinct, 
and generally from Reason in any form, ; the Age of abso 
lute indifference towards all truth, and of entire and un 
restrained licentiousness: the State of completed Sinfulncss. 


Our Age stands, I think, in this Epoch, taken with the 
limitations which I have already laid down, namely, that 
I do not here include all men now living in our time, but 
only those who are truly products of the Age, and in whom 
it most completely reveals itself. 

Let this then be now said, and said once for all. It was 
needful that I should say this once, for this my declared 
opinion is the only ground why I select for investigation 
that Epoch which I now take up, leaving the other four out 
of view ; otherwise I must have entered upon all five, or 
at least selected some other one for consideration. But I 
can here only announce this opinion, not prove it. The 
proof lies out of the domain of the philosopher, and be 
longs to that of the observer of the world and of men ; 
and this character I do not wish to assume here. I have 
said this now once for all. I now proceed calmly and with 
out restriction, as beseems a philosopher, to that higher 
principle which we have already laid down as the funda 
mental principle of any Age whatsoever, not as something of 
our own devising, but as deduced from the general con 
ception of an Earthly Life ; and from thence infer whatever 
may justly be inferred as to the form and phenomena of a 
life founded upon this principle. Whether the life which 
now exists before your eyes resemble that which I, guided 
only by the laws of syllogistic reasoning, shall deduce a 
priori from that principle, this inquiry, as I have already 
said, belongs to you ; you must resolve it upon your own 
responsibility, and whatever you may or may not say on the 
subject, I shall have no part in it. If, according to your 
judgment, I have hit the mark, it is well ; if not, we shall 
at least have philosophized ; and philosophized, if not upon 
the present, yet upon some other possible and necessary 
Age ; and so our labour not be wholly lost. 

The Present Age, I have said, without further explana 
tion; and it is sufficient at the outset if, without any stricter 
definition, these words shall be understood to mean the time 


in which we, who now live and think and speak to each 
other, do actually exist and live. It is "by no means my 
purpose at present to mark out the centuries, or even cycles, 
which may have elapsed since that which I call the Present 
Age first appeared in the world. Obviously, an Age can 
only be judged and understood by observation of those 
nations who stand at the head of the civilization of their 
time:but as civilization has wandered from people to people, 
so with this civilization an Age too may have wandered 
from people to people, remaining unchangeably one and 
the same in principle amid all variety of climate and^ of 
soil; and so likewise, in virtue of the purpose of uniting 
all nations into one great commonwealth, may the Age be 
arrested and detained on the stage during a considerable 
period of chronological Time, and thus, as it were, the 
Time-current be compelled to a pause. Especially may 
this be the case with an Age like that which we have to 
describe, throughout which adverse worlds meet and 
struggle with each other, slowly striving to attain an 
equilibrium, and thereby to secure the peaceful extinction 
of the elder time. But, it is only after we have acquired 
a more intimate knowledge of the principle of the Age, 
and have learned at the same time how history is to be 
questioned and what we have to seek from her, that it 
will be useful or proper for us to adduce from the history 
of the actual world whatever may be necessary for our 
purpose and may serve to guard us from error. Not 
whether our words, had they been uttered centuries ago, 
would then have depicted reality, nor whether they shall 
picture it forth after centuries have passed away, but 
only whether they now represent it truly, is the question 
which is proposed for your final decision. 
So much by way of preface_tg_pur firsl 
the principle cjKe3geT :::: noVto the solution of this pro 
blem. I have laid down this principle as Liberation from 
the compulsion of the blind Authority exercised by Reason as 


Instinct; Liberation being understood to mean the state in 
which the Race gradually works out its own Freedom, now 
in this, now in that individual, now from this, now from 
that object, with respect to which Authority has hitherto 
held it in chains ; not that in which it already is free, but 
at most only that in which those who stand at the head of 
the Age, and seek to guide, direct, and elevate the others, 
are, or imagine themselves to be, free. The instrument of 
this liberation from Authority is Understanding ; for the 
characteristic of Instinct as opposed to Understanding con 
sists in this, that it is blind ; and the characteristic of 
Authority, by means of which Instinct has governed in the 
preceding Age,is this, that it demands unquestioning faith 
and obedience. Hence the fundamental maxim of those 
who stand at the head of this Age, and therefore the prin 
ciple of the Age, is this, to accept nothing as really exist 
ing or obligatory but that which they can understand and 
clearly comprehend. 

With regard to this fundamental principle, as we have 
now declared and adopted it without further definition or 
limitation, this third Age is similar to that which is to 
folio wit, the fourth, or Age of Reason as Knowledge; 
and by virtue of this similarity prepares the way for it. 
Before the tribunal of Knowledge, too, nothing is accepted 
but the Conceivable. Only in the application of the prin 
ciple there is this difference between the two Ages, that 
the third, which we shall shortly name that of Empty 
Freedom, makes its fixed and already acquired concep 
tion the measure of existence ; while the fourth that of 
Knowledge on the contrary, makes existence the measure, 
not of its acquired, but of its desiderated belief. To the 
former there is nothing but what it already comprehends : 
the latter strives to comprehend, and does comprehend, all 
that is. The latter the Age of Knowledge penetrates 
to all things without exception ; to the Conceivable, 
and even to that which still remains absolutely Un- 


conceivable accepting it as Unconceivable : to the first, 
the Conceivable, so as thereby to order the relations 
of the Kace ; to the second, the Unconceivable, in order 
to assure itself that all the Conceivable is exhausted, and 
that it is now in possession of the limits of the Conceiv 
able. The former the Age of Empty Freedom does not 
know that man must first through labour, industry, and 
art, learn how to know ; but it has a certain fixed standard 
for all conceptions, and an established Common Sense of 
Mankind always ready and at hand, innate, and ever pre 
sent without trouble on its part ; and those conceptions 
and this Common Sense are to it the measure of the 
efficient and the real. It has this great advantage over 
the Age of Knowledge, that it knows all things without 
having learned anything; and can pass judgment upon 
whatever comes before it at once and without hesitation, 
without needing any preliminary enquiry : Whatever 
I do not immediately comprehend by the conceptions 
which already dwell within me, is nothing, says Empty 
Freedom : Whatever I do not comprehend through the 
Absolute, Self-comprehensive Idea, is nothing/ says 

You perceive that this Age is based upon an already 
present conception, an innate Common Sense, which pro 
nounces irrevocably upon its whole system of knowledge and 
belief; and if we could thoroughly analyze this inborn con 
ception or sense, which is thus to it the root of everything 
else, we should then, undoubtedly, be able to take in the 
whole system of the beliefs of the Age at a single glance, 
perceive the inmost spirit beneath all its outward wrappings, 
and bring it forth to view. Let it be now our task to ac 
quire this knowledge ; and for this purpose I now invite 
you to the comprehension of a deep-lying proposition. 

This namely : The third Age throws off the yoke of 
Reason as Instinct ruling through the imposition of outward 
Authority. This Reason as Instinct, however, as we have 


already remarked, embraces only the relations and life of the 
Race as such, not the life of the Individual. In the latter 
the natural impulse of self-preservation and personal well- 
being alone prevails. Hence an Age which has thrown 
off Reason as Instinct, without accepting Reason in any 
other form in its stead, has absolutely nothing remaining 
except the life of the Individual, and whatever is connected 
with or related to that. Let us further explain this weighty 
conclusion, which is of essential importance to our future 

We have said that Reason as Instinct, arid generally 
Reason in any form, embraces only the life and relations of 
the Race. To wit, and this is a principle the proof of 
which cannot be brought forward here, but which is pro 
duced only as an axiom borrowed from the higher philo 
sophy where the strict proof of it may be found, there is 
but ONE existing LIFE, even in reference to the subject; i.e. 
there is everywhere but ONE animating power, ONE living 
Reason ; not, as we are accustomed to hear the unity of 
Reason asserted and admitted, that Reason is the one 
homogeneous and self-accordant faculty and property of 
reasonable beings, who do nevertheless exist already upon 
their own account, and to whose being this property of 
Reason is only superadded as a foreign ingredient, without 
which they might, at any rate, still have been ; but, that 
Reason is the only possible independent and self-sustaining 
Existence and Life, of which all that seems to us to exist 
and live is but a modification, definition, variety, and form. 
To you this principle is not altogether new, for it was al 
ready contained in the definition of Reason which I laid 
before you in our first lecture, to which I then particularly 
directed your attention and besought you to fix it in your 
mind. And now to explain this principle somewhat further, 
so that I may at least make it historically clear to you, 
although I cannot prove it in this place: it is the greatest 
error, and the true ground of all the other errors which 


make this Age their sport, that each individual imagines that 
he can exist, live, think, and act for himself, and believes 
that he himself is the thinking principle of his thoughts ; I 
whereas in truth he is but a single ray of the ONE universal f 
and necessary Thought. I shall not by any means be sur 
prised if it should appear to you that in making this asser 
tion I have uttered a monstrous paradox. I know too well 
that such an opinion must arise, because we can only speak 
of the present Age to the present Age ; and, if I do not 
err, the fundamental character of the Age consists in this, 
that it knows not the principle of which I have spoken, or 
holds it, when announced, in the highest degree incredible 
and absurd. This principle is, however, absolutely incon 
trovertible upon any other ground than that of the mere 
feeling of personality ; the existence of which as a fact of 
consciousness we by no means deny, since we ourselves ex 
perience it as well as others. But we do most earnestly 
deny the validity of this feeling when the question respects 
truth and real existence, in the firm conviction that such 
questions must be decided upon quite other grounds than 
the deceptive revelations of consciousness ; and we are per 
fectly able, in the proper time and place, to justify this our 
denial upon decisive grounds. Here, however, we can only 
announce this principle, and historically communicate it to 
you ; and it is necessary to do this, because only by means 
of it can we separate ourselves from the Age and rise supe 
rior to it ; and no one can truly characterize the Age, or 
comprehend its characteristics, who does not so raise himself 
above it. Hence I must entreat you to accept this principle 
in the meantime upon trust, until I shall be able to lead 
you, in a popular way, at least to a tacit admission of it, 
which I shall do in my next lecture. 

It is only by and to mere Earthly and Finite perception, 
that this one and homogeneous Life of Reason is broken up 
and divided into separate individual persons ; the ground 
of which division, as well as its form and mode, are to be 


found in the higher philosophy ; which individual per 
sons exist and are in no other way than in this Earthly and 
Finite perception, and by means of it; not at all in them 
selves, or independent of Earthly and Finite perception. 
You see here the origin of the division of the One Life of 
Reason into individual life, and the ground of the necessity 
which there is, for all who have not raised themselves by 
Knowledge above mere Earthly and Finite perception, to 
continue in the faith of this personal existence. 

(In order that this principle may not be misunderstood 
in a sense entirely opposed to my meaning, I add the follow 
ing ; but merely in passing, and without any connexion 
with my present subject : The Earthly and Finite percep 
tion, as the foundation and scaffolding of the Eternal Life, 
as well as all that is contained therein, and therefore, all 
the individual persons into whom the One Reason is divided 
by this Earthly and Finite perception, endures, at least in 
memory, in the Eternal Life itself. Hence, far from any 
thing arising out of my principle against the continuation of 
personal existence, this principle furnishes the only sufficient 
proof of it. And to express it briefly and distinctly 
persons endure through Eternity as they exist now, i.e. as 
the necessary phenomena of Earthly and Finite perception ; 
but in all Eternity they can never become, what they 
never were nor are, independent beings.) 

After this short digression, let us return to our task. 
The One and homogeneous Life of Reason of which we 
have spoken, dividing itself to mere Earthly and Finite 
perception into different individual lives, and hence as 
suming the form of the collective life of a Race, is, as above 
stated, founded at first upon Reason as Instinct, and as such 
regulated by its own essential law ; and this continues un 
til Knowledge steps in and clearly comprehends this law in 
all its varied aspects, demonstrates and establishes it, and so 
makes it evident to all men; and after Knowledge has done 
its part, then by Art is it built up into Reality. In this 


fundamental law lie all those higher Ideas which belong to 
the One Life, or to the form which the One Life here as 
sumes, viz. the Kace: which Ideas altogether transcend 
Individuality, and indeed radically subvert it. Where this 
fundamental law does not prevail under one form or another, 
there can Humanity never attain to the One Life, to the 
Race; and hence nothing remains but Individuality as the 
onlyactual and efficient power. An Age which has set itself 
free from Reason as^ Instinct, the first principle of the Life 
of the Race, and does not yet possess Knowledge, the second 
principle of that Life, must find itself in this position : 
with nothing remaining but mere naked Individuality. 
The Race, which alone possesses real existence, is here 
changed into a mere empty abstraction which has no true 
life, except in the artificial conception of some individual 
founded only on the strength of his own imaginings ; and 
there is no other Whole, and indeed no other conceivable 
Whole, except a patchwork of individual parts, possessing 
no essential and organic Unity. 

This individual and personal life, which is thus all that 
remains in such an Age, is governed by the impulse towards 
self-preservation and personal well-being; and Nature goes 
no further in man than this impulse. She bestows upon 
the animals a special instinct to guide them to the means 
of their preservation and well-being, but she sends forth 
man almost wholly uninstructed on this point, and refers 
him for guidance to his understanding and his experience; 
and therefore it could not fail that this latter should in the 
course of time, during the first two Epochs, assume a cul 
tivated form, and gradually become an established art; 
the art, namely, of promoting to the utmost self-preserva 
tion and personal well-being. This form of Reason, this 
standard of conceptions, the results, present in the general 
consciousness of the Time, of the art of Being and "Well- 
Being, is what the third Age encounters at its advent ; 
this is the universal and natural Common Sense, which it 



receives without labour or toil of its own, as its hereditary 
patrimony ; which is born with it like its hunger and its 
thirst, and which it now applies as the undoubted measure 
of all existence and all worth. 

Our first problem is solved ; the significance of the 
Third Epoch is, as we promised that it should be, dragged 
forth from its concealment and brought forward into open 
day, and we cannot now fail in likewise reproducing its 
systems of faith and practice with as much accuracy and 
sequence as it could itself exhibit in their construction. In 
the first place, the fundamental maxim of the Age, as 
already announced, is now better defined, and it is clear 
that from its asserted principle What I do not compre 
hend, that w not, there must necessarily follow this other : 

Now I comprehend nothing whatever except that which 
pertains to my own personal existence and well-being ; 
hence there is nothing more than this, and the whole world 
exists for nothing else than this, .that I should be, and 
be happy. Whatever I do not comprehend as bearing 
upon this object, is not, does not concern me. 

This mode of thought is either operative only in a practi 
cal way, as the concealed and unconscious, but nevertheless 
true and real, motive of the ordinary doings of the Age, 
or it elevates itself to theory. So long as it only as 
sumes the first form, it cannot easily be laid hold of and 
compelled to avow its real nature, but generally retains a 
sufficient number of lurking holes and ways of escape ; it 
has not yet become a specific Epoch, but is only in the early 
stages of its development. So soon, however, as, havino- 
become theory, it understands itself, admits its own proper 
significance, and loves, approves, and takes pride in itself, 
and indeed accounts itself the highest and only truth, then 
does it assume the distinct Epochal character, reveal itself 
in all the phenomena of the Age, and may now be tho 
roughly comprehended by its own admissions. We prefer 
to approach the subject at its clearest point, and shall 


therefore begin our description of the Third Age at its 
latter stage when its mode of thought has elevated itself > 
to theory. 

We have already remarked that Nature has not bestowed 
upon man, as it has upon animals, a particular instinct 
whereby he may be led to the means of his preservation 
and well-being. This being the case, and also because 
nothing can be learned upon this subject from a priori 
Ideas, which relate only to the One and Everlasting Life of 
the Race, it follows, that in this province nothing remains 
for man but to try, or to let others try at their own proper 
cost, what is good for him and what evil, and to note the 
result for his guidance at a future time. Hence it is quite 
natural and necessary that an Age whose whole theory of the 
world is exhausted in the means of personal existence, should 
value Experience as the only possible source of Knowledge, 
since those very means, which are all that such an Age can 
or will recognise, are only to be recognised through Experi 
ence. In mere Experience, from which however we must 
carefully distinguish scientific Observation and Experiment, 
with which an a priori Idea is always associated, that, 
namely, of the object of inquiry, in mere Experience there 
is contained nothing but the means of physical preservation, 
and on the other hand these means can only be recognised 
by Experience: hence it is Experience alone from which 
this Age derives its views of the world; and the world again, 
as seen by it, points to Experience as its sole original ; 
and thus they react upon each other with the same result. 
Such an Age is thus obliged to deny and deride all the 
knowledge which we possess a priori and independent of 
Experience, and the assertion that from knowledge itself, 
without intermixture of any sensuous element, new know 
ledge may originate and flow forth. Did it possess Ideas of 
a higher world and its order, then it would easily understand 
that these are founded on no Experience whatever, since they 
transcend all Experience ; or if, on the other hand, it had 


but the fortune to possess a nature wholly animal, it would 
then not be obliged laboriously to seek, by means of Experi 
ence, its knowledge of the world, that is, the means of its 
physical preservation, but it would possess these a priori 
in the animal instinct ; since in fact the ox grazing on the 
meadow leaves untouched those grasses which are hurtful to 
his nature, without ever having tasted them and discovered 
by experience their pernicious qualities ; and in like man 
ner takes to those which are healthful to him without 
previous trial ; and consequently, if we were to ascribe 
knowledge to him, possesses a knowledge absolutely a priori 
and independent of all Experience. Only in the middle 
state between humanity and animalism is Experience, 
that wherein our race ranks below the animals, and in its 
superiority to which the meanest insect may be an object 
of envy to man, if destitute of a priori conceptions of 
an Eternal World, only in this middle state, I say, is 
Experience elevated to be the crown and standard of hu 
manity, and such an Age steps boldly forward and asks, 
Might it but know then how any knowledge whatever is 
possible except by Experience? as if by this question, in 
deed, every one would be frightened, retreat within himself, 
and give no other answer than the desired one. 

In so far as this Age admits the possibility of anything 
lying beyond the confines of the mere knowledge of the 
physical world, although it does so in a somewhat incon 
sequential manner, and only because such things are also 
present in Experience, and on account of such Experience 
are taught in the Schools, it becomes its highest wisdom 
to doubt of everything, and in no matter to take a part 
either on the one side or the other. In this neutrality, this 
immoveable impartiality, this incorruptible indifference to 
all truth, it places its most excellent and perfect wisdom ; 
and the charge of having a system appears to it as a disgrace 
by which the reputation of a man is irretrievably destroyed. 
Such scientific cobwebs are only devised in order that young 


persons of the lower classes, who have no opportunity of 
seeing the great world, may, by amusing themselves with 
them, develop their capacities for active life. For this 
purpose every opinion and every proposition, affirmative 
as well as negative, are equally available ; and it is a con 
temptible blunder to mistake jest for earnest, and to in 
terest oneself for any side of such a controversy as if it 
were something of importance. 

With respect to the influence which it exerts upon Na 
ture and its employment of her powers and products, such 
an Age looks everywhere only to the immediately and ma 
terially useful, to that, namely, which is serviceable for 
dwelling, clothing, and food, to cheapness, convenience, 
and, where it attains its highest point, to fashion ; but that 
higher dominion over Nature whereby the majestic image 
of Man as a Race is stamped upon its opposing forces, I 
mean the dominion of Ideas, in which the essential nature 
of Fine Art consists, this is wholly unknown to such an 
Age; and even when the occasional appearance of men of 
more spiritual nature may remind it of this higher sove 
reignty, it only laughs at such aspirations as mere visionary 
extravagance ; and thus Art itself, reduced to its most me 
chanical forms, is degraded into a new vehicle of fashion, 
the instrument of a capricious luxury, alien to the Eter 
nities of the Ideal world. With respect to the legislative 
constitution of States and the government of Nations, 
such an Age either, impelled by its hatred to the old, con 
structs political fabrics upon the most airy and unsubstantial 
abstractions, and attempts to govern degenerate men by 
means of high-sounding phrases without the aid of firm and 
inflexible power ; or, impelled by its idol Experience, it 
hastens, on every emergency, whether of great or small im 
portance, being convinced beforehand of its own utter in 
ability to determine upon a course of action for itself, to 
consult the chronicles of the Past, to read there how others 
have formerly acted under similar circumstances, and takes 


from thence the law of its own conduct ; and in this way 
constructs its political existence out of a confused patchwork 
gathered from many different Ages long since dead, there 
by openly displaying a clear consciousness of its own utter 
nothingness. With respect to Morality, it proclaims this 
as the only Virtue, that we should pursue our own indi 
vidual interests, at furthest addiDg thereto those of others 
(either as bound in honour so to do, or else from mere in 
consequence) so far as they are not inconsistent with our 
own; and this as the only Vice, to fail in the pursuit of our 
own advantage. It maintains, and since it can have no 
difficulty in discovering an ignoble motive for every action, 
inasmuch as it is quite unacquainted with aught that par 
takes of nobleness, it even pretends to prove, that all 
men who live or have ever lived have actually thought and 
acted in this way, and that there is absolutely no other 
motive of action in man than Self-Interest; compassion 
ating those who assume the existence of any other as silly 
fools who are as yet ignorant of the world and of men. 
Lastly, with respect to Religion, it also is changed into 
a mere Doctrine of Happiness, designed to remind us that 
man must be temperate in enjoyment in order that his 
enjoyments may be lasting and varied ; a God is deemed 
necessary only in order that he may care for our welfare, 
and it is our wants alone which have called him into 
existence and determined him to be. Whatever it may 
chance to retain of the super-sensual elements of any already 
existing system of Religion owes this forbearance only to 
the need there may be of a curb for the unbridled populace, 
which however the cultivated classes do not require; and to 
the want of a more efficient means of supplementing the 
deficiencies of the Police or of judicial Evidence. In short, 
and to express the matter in one word, such an Age 
has reached its highest point of development when it has 
attained a clear conviction that Reason, and with Reason 
all that lies beyond mere sensuous personal Existence, is 


only an invention of certain idle individuals called Philo-^ 

So much for the general delineation of the Third Age, 
the individual features of which we shall set forth and ex 
amine in detail in our future addresses. Only one other 
characteristic we shall notice at present, which inasmuch as 
it affects the form of the whole Epoch, cannot be passed over 
here ; this, namely, that this Age, in its best repre 
sentatives, is so confident, so firmly assured of the truth 
of its views, that in this respect it is not surpassed even 
by the certainty of scientific conviction. It looks down 
with unspeakable pity and compassion upon those earlier 
Ages in which men were still so weak-minded as to allow 
themselves to be seduced from pleasures which were offered 
to their immediate enjoyment by a spectre which they named 
Virtue, and by a dream of a super-sensual world ; upon 
those Ages of darkness and superstition, when they, the re 
presentatives of a new Age, had not yet appeared, had not 
yet fathomed and thoroughly laid open the depths of the 
human heart, had not yet made the great and astounding 
discovery, and loudly proclaimed and universally promul 
gated it, that this heart is at bottom nothing but a base 
puddle. It does not oppose, but only compassionates and 
good-naturedly smiles at those who, living in it, yet reject 
its opinions ; and calmly settles itself in the philanthropic 
hope that they too may one day raise themselves to the 
same point of view, when they shall have been matured 
by age and experience ; or when they shall have studied, 
as thoroughly as its own representatives have done, that 
which it calls History. But here, although this is lost 
upon those representatives, Knowledge is their master, 
inasmuch as the latter perfectly comprehends its oppo 
nents mode of thought, can reconstruct it from its separate 
parts, is able to restore it, should it unfortunately be lost 
to the world, and even finds it to be perfectly just when 
considered from its proper point of view. Thus, were we 


to speak in the name of Knowledge, the supposed im 
pregnability of the mode of thought which we have now 
described arises precisely in this way ; that, considered 
from the point of view where its advocates are placed, it 
is perfectly just ; and however frequently they may re- 
examine the chain of their conclusions they will never 
discover any break in its sequence. If there be absolutely 
nothing but the sensuous existence of Individuality, without 
any higher life of the Race ; then there can be no other 
source of knowledge but Experience, for we are obviously 
informed concerning this sensuous existence only by Ex 
perience ; and just on that account every other pretended 
source of knowledge, and whatever may flow therefrom, must 
of necessity be a mere dream and phantom of the brain ; 
whereby indeed is left unexplained the actual possibility of 
such dreaming, and of so conjuring out of the brain what 
in reality the brain does not contain; from which explana- 
nation, however, our representatives wisely abstain, satisfied 
with the experience that such dreams are. And that there 
actually is nothing except this sensuous individual existence, 
they know very well from this ; that however often and 
deeply they have fathomed the abysses of their own being, 
they have never been able to discover therein aught but 
the feeling of their own personal and sensuous existence. 

And thus it follows from all that has been said, that this 
manner of thinking is by no means founded upon an error 
of reasoning or of judgment, which may be remedied by 
pointing out to the Age the mistake into which it has 
fallen, and reminding it of the rules of logic which it has 
transgressed ; but it is founded upon the altogether defec 
tive character of the Age itself, and of those in whom this 
character most distinctly shows itself. While it and they 
are what they are, they must necessarily think as they 
now think ; and if they are to think otherwise than they 
do think, they must first of all become something different 
from what they are. 


To close our lecture with the only consoling view which 
the subject affords : It is a happiness that even the most 
inveterate champions of this manner of thinking are al 
ways, against their own thought and will, something better 
than their speech proclaims them ; and that the spark of 
a higher life in Man, however it may be concealed, is yet 
never extinguished, but gleams on with silent and secret 
power until material is presented to it at which it may 
kindle and burst forth into bright and steady flame. To 
fan this spark of a higher life, and as far as possible to 
furnish it with materials for its activity, is also one of the 
objects of these lectures. 




IT is only by degrees that clearness can spread itself over 
our inquiry ; only step by step can light penetrate its 
deeper recesses; until at length the end reveal itself before 
us in unclouded brightness. This condition of our inquiry 
lies, as we said in our first lecture, in the unchangeable 
laws which regulate all communication of thought. Beyond 
the duty incumbent on the speaker to arrange his thoughts 
in their proper order, and to set each in its proper place, 
his art can do nothing to modify the condition of which 
we have spoken, except this, needfully to pause at each 
brighter point which presents itself in the course of his 
communication, and from thence to send forth rays of light 
upon what has gone before and what is to follow. 

In our last lecture we arrived at one of these brighter 
points in the inquiry which we have undertaken; and it is 
tit and proper that we should to-day more fully develop 
this point. That the Human Race should order all its re 
lations with Freedom according to Reason ; this was set 
forth as the end and purpose of the Earthly Life of our 
Race ; and the characteristic peculiarity of the Third Age, 
which it is our business to describe, was declared to be, 
that it had thrown off the yoke of Reason in every shape. 
But what Reason itself is, and in what a Life according 


to Reason consists, and what are the relations which are 
ordered by Reason in a life so governed by it ; these 
things have been indeed indicated in many ways, but not 
yet anywhere placed in a clear light. In our last lecture, 
however, we said Reason embraces only the ONE Life, 
which manifests itself as the Life of the Race, Were Reason 
taken away from human life, there would remain only 
Individuality and the love of Individuality! Hence the 
Life according to Reason consists herein, that the Indi 
vidual forget himself in the Race, place his own life in the 
life of the Race and dedicate it thereto; the Life opposed 
to Reason, on the contrary, consists in this, that the In 
dividual think of nothing but himself, love nothing but 
himself and in relation to himself, and set his whole ex 
istence in his own personal well-being alone : and since 
we may briefly call that which is according to Reason good, 
and that which is opposed to Reason evil, so there is but 
One Virtue, to forget one s own personality; and but One 
Vice, to make self the object of our thoughts. Hence 
the view of Morality depicted in our last lecture as that of 
the Third Age here as everywhere precisely reverses the 
fact, and makes that its only Virtue which is in reality 
the only Vice, and that its only Vice which is in truth 
the only Virtue. 

These words are to be understood strictly as we have 
spoken them, in their most rigorous sense. The mitigation 
of our principle which might be attempted here, namely 
that it is only our duty not to think of ourselves exclusively, 
but also upon others, is precisely the same Morality as that 
which we have represented as belonging to the Third Age, 
only that here it is inconsequential, and seeks to disguise 
itself, not having yet altogether triumphed over shame. 
He who but thinks at all of his own personality, and 
desires any kind of life or being, or any joy of life, ex 
cept in the Race and for the Race, with whatever vesture 
of good deeds he may seek to hide his deformity, is 


nevertheless, at bottom, only a mean, base, and therefore 
unhappy man. Hence our principle, as we ourselves 
have expressed it in all its rigour, it and nothing else, 
is our meaning, against which it is, and always will be, 
impossible to bring forward any essential objection. 

Whatever has been urged against this principle hitherto 
since mankind had a being, or can be urged so long as it 
shall have a being, is grounded upon the bold assertion that 
man cannot forget himself, and that personal self-love has 
grown up in such intimate union with his nature that it is 
now inextricably interwoven with it. I ask such assertors, 
Whence then have they obtained their knowledge of what 
man can do, and what he cannot ? Obviously this assertion 
of theirs can be founded on nothing else than observation 
of themselves ; and it may indeed be true that they for 
themselves, since they have become what they are and wish 
to remain so, may never be able to forget their own personal 
welfare. But by what right do they make the standard of 
their ability or non-ability the measure of the capacity of 
the Race ? The noble mind can indeed understand the 
thought of the ignoble, for we are all born and fashioned in 
Egoism, and have all lived in it, and it needs struggle and 
effort to destroy this old nature within us ; but the ig 
noble cannot know the thoughts of the noble, because he 
has never entered the world to which they belong, nor 
traversed it as his world has of necessity been traversed 
in all its extent by the noble. The latter surveys both 
worlds, the former only that which holds him captive ; 
as the Waker may in his waking understand the Dream, 
and the Seer conceive of Darkness ; but the Dreamer 
cannot in his dream comprehend the Waking, nor the 
Blind-born imagine Light. Only when they have attained 
to this higher world, and have taken possession of it, shall 
they be able to do that which they now declare they can 
not do, and only by acquiring this ability for themselves 
can they learn that Man is capable of acquiring it. 

38 LECTURE 111. 

Herein, therefore, have we placed the True Life, the 
Life according to Reason, that the personal life of Man 
be dedicated to that of his Race, that the one be forgotten 
in the other. To forget oneself in others : not in others 
regarded likewise in a personal character, where there is still 
nothing but Individuality; but in others regarded as the 
Race. Understand me : the sympathy which prompts us 
to mitigate the sorrows of others, and to share and exalt 
their joys ; the attachment which binds us to friends and 
relatives ; the love that entwines us with our families ; all 
these, being frequently attended with considerable sacrifices 
of our own personal convenience and enjoyment, are the 
first secret and silent movements of Reason as Instinct, 
gently breaking down the harshest and coarsest forms of 
Egoism, and so laying the foundation for the development 
of a wider and more comprehensive love. But as yet this 
love, far from comprehending Humanity as a whole, without 
distinction of person and considered as the Race, embraces 
only individual persons; and although it is thus assuredly 
the vestibule to the higher Life, and no one can obtain 
entrance to the latter who has not first been consecrated 
thereto in this realm of gentler impulses, still it is not 
in itself that higher Life. That embraces the Race itself, 
as a Race. But the Life of the Race is expressed only in 
Ideas ; the fundamental character of which, as well as 
their various forms, we shall come to understand sufficiently 
in the course of these lectures. Thus the formula which we 
laid down, That the life of Man be dedicated to that of 
his Race, may also be expressed thus, l That the life of 
Man be dedicated to Ideas/ for Ideas embrace the Race as 
such, and its Life ; and thus the Life according to Reason, 
or the only good and true Life, consists in this, that Man 
forget himself in Ideas, and neither seek nor know any 
enjoyment save in Ideas, and in sacrificing all other enjoy 
ments for them. Thus far for our explanation. Let us 
now 7 proceed to another matter. 


Th is, namely : If you yourselves, compelled by an inward 
power, should feel it impossible to withhold your approval, 
your admiration, and your reverence from a Life such as we 
have described, and were even compelled to reverence it 
more profoundly the greater and more evident the sacrifices 
made at the shrine of Ideas, so surely, I say, would it be 
obvious, from this your approval, that there is a principle, 
indestructibly rooted in your minds, which proclaims that 
the personal life ought to be brought a sacrifice to the Idea, 
and that the Life in which it is so offered up is the only true 
and upright Life; hence, if we regard the matter strictly, 
that the individual life has no real existence, since it has no 
value of itself, but must and should sink to nothing ; while, 
on the contrary, the Race alone exists, since it alone ought 
to be looked upon as really living. In this way we should 
keep the promise we gave in our former lecture, to show 
you, in a popular way and by your own knowledge of 
yourselves, that the principle which we then announced, 
and which at first sight seemed so paradoxical, was in truth 
already well known and admitted by you, and indeed was 
the constant director and guide of your judgment, although 
you might not be clearly conscious of it; and we should 
thus attain both the objects which I had in view in the 
present lecture. 

That you should actually be necessitated to approve, ad 
mire, and reverence such a Life as we have described, was 
the first step in our argument, upon which all else depended, 
and from which all else necessarily followed ; and this 
we must commit entirely to your own reflection, without 
interference on our part. Hence it is only my task to 
make an experiment on you and within you, and should 
this succeed, as I expect it will, then we shall have proved 
our position. 

I shall make this experiment upon your minds, unques 
tionably with the view of exciting a certain feeling in you ; 
but not so as to take you unawares, or to excite this feel- 


ing merely for the sake of exciting it, and that so I may 
be enabled to make a momentary use of it to aid my pur 
pose, as the orator does; but, on the contrary, that this 
feeling may be excited in you with your own clear and 
distinct consciousness and concurrence, not exerting a mere 
passive influence on you, but to the end that its existence 
may be clearly recognised by you, and that it may thus 
be more fully and completely understood. 

The philosopher is compelled, by the rules of Ids art, to 
deal with perfect openness and honesty ; and in return he 
acquires a power which lies far beyond the sophistries of 
mere eloquence ; he is able to declare to his hearers before 
hand the emotion which he desires to excite within them, 
and, provided they rightly understand him, to attain his 
object notwithstanding the disclosure. 

This free and open announcement of the purpose which 
we have in view, lays me under an obligation to describe 
more particularly the nature of the effect which I shall at 
tempt to produce within you ; and in order to maintain the 
clear, intelligible position which we have now attained, I 
shall at once proceed to this description. I have only to 
ask you to fix in your mind a few expressions and phrases 
which may not as yet be entirely distinct to you, but which 
shall be made perfectly clear in the sequel. 

The Life according to Reason must necessarily love itself; 
for every form of life, as its own perfect result and fulfil 
ment, is enjoyment of itself. As surely as Reason can never 
be entirely extinguished among men, so surely can this love 
of Reason for itself never be utterly destroyed ; nay, this 
love, as the deepest root of all rational existence, and as 
the sole remaining tie which keeps men within the circle of 
rational existence, is precisely that whereby we may most 
surely recognise and attain the Life according to Reason, 
if we will only be honest and unprejudiced. 

Now the Life opposed to Reason, that of mere Indivi 
duality, likewise loves itself; since it too is life, and all 


life necessarily loves itself. But as these two forms of life 
are thoroughly opposed to each other, so also are the kinds 
of love and satisfaction which they have in themselves quite 
opposed to each other, wholly and specifically different; 
and in this specific difference they are easily recognised 
and distinguished from each other. 

To begin with the love which the Life according to Keason 
entertains for itself. Towards this Life we may stand in a 
double relation : either, we may possess it only in concep 
tion, in a feeble and imperfect representation, and only as 
received from others ; or, we may ourselves truly and in 
reality be and live this Life. That mankind cannot at 
the present day stand in the latter relation, since, in that 
case, there would be not only no Egoism, and no Third Age 
of the world, but also no true Freedom, this has already 
been admitted; nay more, that we have been all fashioned 
and born outside of this relation, and can only by labour 
and toil place ourselves therein. Hence it must be the 
first relation, namely the possession, or the capacity of 
possessing, the Life according to Reason in conception, 
which is never wholly extinguished among men, which all 
have the power to attain, and by which all may at least 
comprehend the Life according to Reason. 

The love which the Life opposed to Reason bears to itself, 
with which indeed we are all better acquainted, and to which 
our language more easily accommodates itself, manifests 
itself in its specific character, both in general and in parti 
culars, as delight in its own sagacity, petty pride in its own 
cleverness and penetration, and, to designate an ignoble 
thing by a befitting ignoble expression, as self-satisfied 
chuckling over its own cunning. Thus in the former lecture 
it was represented as a fundamental characteristic of the 
Third Age, that it looked down with haughty self-compla 
cency on those who suffer themselves to be defrauded of pre 
sent enjoyment by a dream of Virtue, congratulating itself 
that it isfar above such delusions, and therefore secure from 


being imposed upon ; its true character being admirably 
expressed in a single phrase, would-be-Enlightenment. 
Thus the highest and most refined enjoyment which he who 
cares best for his own advantage, and successfully pursues 
it through many difficulties, can attain, is the satisfaction 
he must feel in his own shrewdness and skill. On the 
contrary, the love which the Life according to Reason 
bears to itself, as a legitimate and well-ordered existence, 
manifests itself in its specific character, not as unexpected 
gratification, but in the dignified form of approval, esteem, 
and reverence. 

In so far as we have attained the Life according to Reason, 
in the first way, namely, in conception, and as a picture of 
a Life removed from our own, in so far will this conception 
lovingly welcome and dwell upon itself in delighted compla 
cency j f or> i n that case, we shall at least have entered 
so far into the sphere of the Life of Reason, as to possess 
a worthy and adequate image of it. (We may add here, 
for the benefit of those who are acquainted with the 
scientific language of philosophy, that the feeling thus 
produced is an aesthetic pleasure, and indeed the highest 
aesthetic pleasure.) 

This pleasure, however, this approbation of something 
foreign to us, something which we ourselves are not, in 
spires us with respect and reverence, combined, in the best 
of our race, with silent unsatisfied regards thrown back upon 
themselves, and a secret longing to assimilate their own life 
to the object of their love; out of which longing the higher 
Life gradually unfolds itself. In so far as, in the second way, 
the Life according to Reason actually becomes conscious of 
itself as a real and present existence, it flows forth in un 
speakable enjoyment and satisfaction, before the thought of 
which the Egoist must retreat in envy could he entertain 
the thought; in this love to itself, it becomes pure Blessed 
ness. For all feelings of disappointment and dissatisfaction, 
as well as those of desire and insufficiency, are nothing else 


than the birth-pains of the higher Life struggling towards 
its perfect development. Is it developed ? then is it tho 
roughly satisfied with itself, and sufficient for itself, needing 
nothing more, but possessing the most perfect Freedom 
within itself and in the consciousness of its own inherent 
power. Let us in the present lecture test the first con 
dition by ourselves ; in the next I shall attempt to present 
to you a feeble description of the second. 

For our present purpose, I shall maintain the following 
proposition: Everything great and good upon which our 
present existence rests, from which it has proceeded, and 
on the supposition of which alone our Age can order itself 
in the way it actually does, has an existence only because 
noble and powerful men have resigned all the enjoyments 
of life for the sake of Ideas; and we ourselves, and all that 
we are, are the result of the sacrifices of all previous genera 
tions, and especially of their worthiest members. I have, 
however, no thought of making use of this remark to bribe 
you into toleration towards our predecessors by con 
templation of the advantages which we have derived from 
their sacrifices; for in that case I should excite in you, and 
make use of for my present purpose, precisely that mode of 
thought which, had I the power, I would extirpate from the 
world ; and then I might justly expect this answer, It is 
well for us that these fools have lived, who, in the sweat of 
their brow, gathered together the treasures we now enjoy ; 
we shall, so far as in us lies, avoid similar folly : let other 
generations look to their own prosperity when we shall be 
no more ; and I should not be able to avoid commending 
this answer as, at least, consistent. It has even been seen, 
that with regard to efforts for the sake of Humanity 
which, provided they were otherwise conducted with pro 
priety, have deserved no blame in this respect, men have 
lifted up their voices and asked, Is it right that this 
generation should make such sacrifices for the future? 
and thereupon looked around with triumph, as if they had 


uttered something very profound and secure from contro 
versy. At present, however, I only wish to know this, 
whether you do not feel constrained to respect and admire 
in the highest degree such a course of thought and action, 
quite independently of any consideration of its prudence, 
upon which no judgment is now demanded. 

Let us cast a glance on the world around us. You know 
that even now many tracts of the Earth s surface are still 
covered with putrid morasses and impenetrable forests, the 
cold and damp atmosphere of which gives birth to noxious 
insects, and breathes forth devastating epidemics ; which 
are almost entirely the dwelling-place of wild animals, and 
only afford to the few creatures in human form who are to 
be found in them the means of dragging on a dull and 
joyless existence, without freedom, usefulness, or dignity. 
History informs us that the countries which we inhabit at 
the present day formerly bore the same character to a large 
extent. Now, the morasses are dried up ; the forests cleared 
out and changed into fruitful plains and vineyards which 
purify the air and fill it with enlivening fragrance ; the 
rivers are taught to keep their channels, and enduring 
bridges are laid across them; villages and towns have arisen, 
with lasting, convenient, and agreeable dwelling-places for 
men, and public buildings, which have already braved the 
storms of centuries, for the purposes of mental improvement 
and elevation. You know that, even at the present day, 
savage hordes roam over vast wildernesses, maintaining a 
miserable life upon impure and loathsome food, and yet, 
when they encounter each other, engaging in warfare for 
the sake of this scanty subsistence, and of their wretched 
implements of acquisition and enjoyment, extending the 
fury of their vengeance even to devouring their fellow- 
men. It is in the highest degree probable that we are 
all of us descendants of such races ; that our forefathers, 
at least in some of their generations, have passed through 
this condition. Now, men are assembled from out the 


forests and united together in masses. In the savage 
state each family had to provide for its manifold wants 
immediately and without assistance from others, and had 
even to fabricate for itself the utensils for that purpose, 
with much loss of time and waste of energy : Now, the 
human multitudes are divided into classes, each of which 
pursues its own profession, to the acquirement and exercise 
of which its life is devoted; providing in its own department 
for all other classes, and provided for by them with respect 
to all its other wants ; and thus are the forces of Nature 
confronted by the greatest possible amount of the cultivated, 
ordered and combined powers of Reason. The laws and 
their administrators interpose an insuperable barrier to the 
fury of personal warfare and spoliation; quarrels are adjusted 
without bloodshed, and the lust of crime is scared back by 
severe punishments into the dark recesses of thought ; 
and thus is internal peace secured, arid every one moves in 
safety within the limits which are prescribed to him. Large 
masses of men, frequently sprung from the most dissimilar 
origin, and united one scarce knows how, encounter similar 
masses in as wonderful combination, and neither being fully 
acquainted with the power of the other, reciprocal fear steps 
in between them, so that men are sometimes blessed even 
with external tranquillity ; or when it does come to war, 
the superior power is often worn out and broken by the 
determined resistance of its opponent, and instead of the 
secretly desired extermination, peace is the result ; and 
thus has sprung up a kind of international law between 
independent countries, and from among opposing tribes a 
kind of republic of nations has arisen. You know how, even 
to the present time, the timid savage, unacquainted even 
with himself, finds a hindrance or a destroying foe in every 
power of Nature. To us, Science has laid open our own 
spiritual being, and thereby, in a great measure, subjected 
to our will the outward physical forces of the universe. 
Mechanical science has multiplied, almost to infinity, the 


feeble powers of man, and continues to multiply them. 
Chemistry has introduced us into many chambers of the 
secret workshop of Nature, and enabled us to apply her 
wonders to our own uses, and to protect ourselves from 
the injuries they might otherwise inflict upon us. As 
tronomy has scaled the heavens for us, and measured 
their paths. You know, and the whole history of the 
Past as well as the description of the savage tribes which 
still exist upon the earth proves it to you, that all nations, 
the most cultivated not excepted, flying from the horrors 
of external Nature, and penetrating to the secret depths 
of their own heart, have first discovered there the most 
fearful of all horrors ; the Godhead as their enemy. By 
cringing humiliation and entreaty, by sacrifice of that 
which was dearest to them, by voluntary self-imposed 
penances, by human immolation, by the blood of an only- 
begotten Son, if need were, have they sought to bribe 
this Being so jealous of human happiness, and to reconcile 
him to their unexpected strokes of fortune, by humbly 
deprecating his resentment. 

This is the Religion of the ancient world, and of the 
savage tribes which still exist, and I challenge the student 
of History to point out any other. From us this phantom 
has disappeared long ago ; and the redemption and satis 
faction spoken of in a certain system is a public matter of 
fact, in which we may either believe or not, and which is 
all the more a matter of fact the less we believe in it. Our 
Age, far from shunning the Godhead, has, by its represen 
tatives, constituted the Deity the minister of its pleasures. 
We, for our part, far from finding fault with them on ac 
count of this want of the fear of God, rather count it one of 
their advantages ; and since they are incapable of the right 
enjoyment of the Godhead, of loving it, and living in it, 
and thus attaining Blessedness, we may be well pleased 
that, at least, they do not fear it. Let them, if they please, 
throw it off altogether, or so fashion it as may be most 
agreeable to them. 


"What I have declared in the first place, was once the form 
of Humanity, and in part is so still: what I have described 
in the second, is its present form, at least among ourselves. 
How, by whom, and by what manner of impulses, has this 
new creation been accomplished ? 

Who then, in the first place, gave to the countries of 
Modern Europe their present habitable shape, and made 
them worthy to be the dwelling-place of cultivated men ? 
History answers the question. It was pious and holy men, 
who, believing it to be God s Will that the timid fugitive of 
the woods should be elevated to civilized life, and thereby 
to the blessed knowledge of a Godhead full of love to man, 
left the abodes of civilization and all the physical and 
intellectual enjoyments to be found there, left their fami 
lies, friends and associates, and went forth into the desert 
wilderness, enduring the bitterest privations, encountering 
the severest labour, and, what is more, pursuing their end 
with unwearied patience, that they might win the confidence 
of untutored tribes, by whom they were persecuted and 
robbed; frequently terminating an anxious and weary life 
by a martyr s death at the hands of those for whom, and 
for us their descendants, they died, rejoicing in the hope 
that from their ashes a worthier generation should arise. 
These men, without doubt, gave up their personal life and 
its enjoyments for their Idea, and in this Idea for the Race. 
And should any one offer this objection : They indeed 
sacrificed the present life for the expectation of an infinitely 
higher, heavenly, and blessed life, which they hoped to de 
serve by these sacrifices and sufferings ; but still it was only 
enjoyment for enjoyment, and indeed the lesser for the 
greater ; then I would entreat such an objector earnestly 
to consider with me the following. How inadequately soever 
they might express themselves in words as to the Blessed 
ness of another world, and with what sensuous pictures 
.soever they might clothe their descriptions of this happi 
ness, I ask only to know how they arrived at this firm 


Faith in another world, which they attested so nobly by 
their deeds; and what this Faith, as an act of the mind, 
really is. Does not the mind which faithfully accepts 
another world as certain, in this very acceptance renounce 
the present ? and is not this Faith itself the sacrifice, 
once and for ever accomplished and perfected in the mind, 
and which only manifests itself outwardly when special 
circumstances call it forth ? Let it be no wonder at all, 
bud quite a conceivable thing, and only what thou thyself, 
who makest this objection, wert thou in the same position, 
wouldst do, that they willingly sacrificed everything to 
their belief in an Eternal Life : let this be so ; then is it 
the wonder that they did believe; in which belief the 
Egoist, who is incapable of letting the Present escape, even 
for a moment, from his view, can never follow nor even 
approach them. 

Who has united rude races together, and reduced oppos 
ing tribes under the dominion of law, and to the habits of 
peaceful life ? Who has maintained them in this condition, 
and protected existing states from dissolution through in 
ternal disorder, or destruction by outward power? Whatever 
name they may have borne,it was Heroes, who had left their 
Age far behind them, giants among surrounding men in 
material and spiritual power. They subdued to their Idea of 
what ought to Je, races by whom they were on that account 
hated and feared; through sleepless nights of thought they 
pondered their anxious plans for their fellow-men ; from 
battlefield to battlefield they rushed without weariness or 
rest, renouncing the enjoyments which lay within their 
grasp, making their life a spoil, often shedding their blood. 
And what sought they by these labours ? and how were 
they rewarded ? It was an Idea, a mere Idea of a new condi 
tion of things to be brought about by them, to be realized 
for its own sake alone, and without reference to any ulterior 
purpose ; this it was which inspired them ; and it was 
the unspeakable delight of this Idea which rewarded and 


indemnified them for all their labours and sacrifices; 
it was this Idea which lay at the root of their inward 
life, which cast the outward life into shade, and threw 
it aside as something undeserving of thought; it was 
the power of this Idea which made them giants in phy 
sical and mental energy, although by birth like their 
fellow-men ; and their personal life was dedicated to this 
Idea which first moulded that life into a worthy and 
accepted offering. 

What impels the King, securely seated on a hereditary 
throne, with the fulness of the land spread out before 
him for his enjoyment, what impels (to combine my 
question with a well-known example so often miscon 
strued by a race of pigmy sentimentalists) what impels 
the Macedonian hero to leave his hereditary kingdom 
already well secured on all sides and richly provided for 
by his father and to seek foreign lands to the conquest 
of which he forces his way by unceasing efforts ? Will 
he thereby be happier or more contented ? What chains 
victory to his footsteps, and scatters before him in terror 
the countless hordes of his enemies ? Is this mere 
fortune ? No ! it is an Idea which first gives the im 
pulse, and which crowns the effort with success. Effeminate 
half-barbarians had looked down with scorn upon the 
most highly civilized people then living beneath the 
sun on account of their smaller numbers, and had even 
dared to entertain the thought of their subjugation ; 
they had actually subdued kindred tribes dwelling in 
Asia, and subjected the cultivated and the free to the 
laws and odious inflictions of rude and enslaved nations. 
This outrage must not be perpetrated with impunity : 
on the contrary, the civilized must rule and the un 
civilized must obey, if Right is to be the Law of the 
world. This Idea had already been long cherished in the 
nobler Grecian minds, until in Alexander it became a 
living flame which animated and consumed his personal 



life. Tell me not of the thousands who fell around his 
path ; speak not of his own early ensuing death : after 
the realization of his Idea, what was there greater for him 
to do than to die ? 

(51 ) 



IN our last lecture we set forth the principle directly 
opposed to that of the Third Age which we have under 
taken to characterize, the principle of the Life according 
to Reason ; this, namely, that_the_personal life of man 
should be devoted to the Life ofjhejlace, or, as we further 
denned this expression. L to_Ideas ; and we found it desirable 
to prolong our consideration of this principle, as one of the 
more luminous points in our inquiry. I proposed, in the 
first place, to show you by your own nature, that you could 
not help approving, admiring, and respecting in the highest 
degree the sacrifice of the enjoyments of life for the 
realization of an Idea ; that hence a principle upon which 
this judgment was founded must exist indestructibly within 
you ; a principle namely to this effect, that the personal 
life ought to be given_up-ior the Idea ; and that, strictly 
speaking, personal existence is not, since it should thus be 
sacrificed ; while, on the contrary, the life in the Idea alone 
is, since it alone ouglit to be maintained. I explained this 
expected admiration on your part by this proposition : All 
life necessarily loves itself, and therefore the Life according 
to Reason must love itself, and, as the only true and real 
Life, must love itself with a love far exceeding all other love. 
Now the Life according to Reason may exist and be known 


to man in two different ways : either in mere conception, 

and as the picture of a condition foreign to his own ; or 

by himself living this life. In the first case, it loves itself 
and delights in itself as seen in this conception, because this 
is at least the conception of the Life according to Reason, 
and is itself according to Reason; and then there arises the 
approval, admiration, and reverence of which we have 
spoken. In the second case, it rises to infinite enjoyment 
of its own being, which is Blessedness. The former con 
dition, that of approval, I proposed to test by your own 
feelings in our last lecture ; promising you for to-day a 
feeble description of the second. 

And in the fulfilment of my first object, that I might not 
roam about at random, blindly groping among my materials, 
but arrange my thoughts around a common centre, I said 
Everything great and good on which our Age rests, and by 
the power of which it exists, has been brought about bv the 
sacrifices which the Past has made for Ideas. By calling to 
mind that the land had been redeemed from the state of 
wildness to that of cultivation, mankind from the state of 
war to that of peace, from ignorance to knowledge, from 
blind terror before God to emancipation from such fear, 
I showed that the first of these changes, at least in the 
countries which we inhabit, had been effected by pious 
and holy men ; and the last, everywhere and in all lands, 
by Heroes ; all of whom, the one class as well as the 
other, had sacrificed their life and its enjoyments for the 
sake of their Ideas. While I was proceeding to answer 
an objection which might be made with reference to this 
last point, my discourse was interrupted by the expiry of 
our usual time, and I now resume it at the same place. 

It is Honour, some one may say, which inspires the 
Hero, the burning image of his fame now and in after- 
times, which impels him onward through difficulty and 
danger, and which repays him for his life of sacrifice and 
self-denial in the coin on which he sets most value. I 


answer, even if this should be so, what then is this Hon 
our ? Whence has this thought of the judgment which 
others may pass upon us, particularly of the judgment of 
future generations whose praise or blame shall echo over 
our graves unheard by us ; whence has it acquired this 
amazing power which enables it to suppress and extinguish 
the personal life of the Hero ? Is it not obvious that 
in the depths of his mind there lies a principle which 
tells him that only on one condition can his life be of 
any value to him, can be even endurable by him ; this, 
namely, that the voices of Mankind at large shall unite in 
ascribing a value to it ? Is not this very thought the Idea 
of the Race, and of its judgment as a Race on the Indi 
vidual, and the admission that the Race alone is entitled to 
pass the final judgment upon true merit ? Is it not the 
supposition that this final judgment must be grounded on 
the inquiry whether the Individual has or has not devoted 
himself to the Race ? and is it not a silent, respectful ac 
quiescence in this judgment proceeding on these premises? 
in a word, is not this Idea precisely that in which we 
have placed the Life according to Reason ? But let us 
more thoroughly investigate this matter. 

The Hero acts : undoubtedly then, I add, he acts in a 
certain way; in order, it is said, thereby to acquire fame 
in the eyes of Present and Future Ages: undoubtedly 
then, I add again, without having first interrogated the 
Present and Future Ages whether they would laud a life so 
employed; without, I add yet again, having had it in 
his power to seek counsel of experience in any way upon 
this question ; because his mode of action, so surely as it 
proceeds upon an Idea, is a new, hitherto unknown mode, 
upon which therefore no human judgment has ever yet 
been pronounced. But, it is said, he reckons so securely 
on fame being the result of this mode of action, that he is 
ready to peril his life on the accuracy of his calculations. 
How does he know, then, that he has not miscalculated ? 


At the time when he goes forth into action, and has already 
once for all completed in his own mind the consecration of 
his life, he and he only, and none other but himself, has 
examined and approved the mode of life which he has set 
before him ; how then does he know that Present and 
Future Ages will likewise approve it and cover it with im 
mortal glory ? how does he come so boldly to ascribe to 
the whole Race his own standard of what is honourable and 
praiseworthy ? Yet he does this, as is alleged ; and this 
single remark of itself proves, that, in acting as he does, 
far from being moved thereto by the hope of future fame, 
he holds up to future Ages, in his own deeds springing forth 
in native purity from the primeval fountain of honour, the 
example of what they must approve and reverence, if their 
judgment is to have any weight with him ; despising and 
even utterly rejecting such judgment if it be not in ac 
cordance with that which has already approved itself to him 
as worthy of eternal honour and respect. And thus it is 
not ambition which is the parent of great deeds, but great 
deeds themselves give birth to faith in a world in which 
they must command respect. That form of Honour, indeed, 
which comes before us in every-day life, and of which we 
do not now speak, proceeds entirely from fear of dis 
grace ; without power to excite man to active duty, it 
only holds him back from that which would be notoriously 
despised, and disappears as soon as he can hope to pass 
unnoticed. Another Ambition, of which too we do not 
now speak, which first pores over ancient chronicles to 
discover what in them is commended, and then endeavours 
to imitate that, so as also to become an object of commen 
dation ; and which being incapable of creating the New, 
strives to reproduce in itself certain effete memorials of 
the Past, which once indeed may have possessed life and 
energy : such an ambition may sacrifice itself, but 
that to which it devotes itself is not an Idea but a Con 
ceit ; and it misses its purpose ; for what is once dead 


never lives again, and whatever may be its success in 
the senseless and purblind Present, the Future will 
assuredly despise the Imitator who mistakes himself for 
a Creator. 

This remark upon Honour, which has been here ad 
duced only in reference to Heroism, is also applicable to 
what is to follow, where in like manner superficiality is 
wont to speak of an ambition the nature and possibility 
of which it has not power to comprehend. 

In our former lecture we said that the once timid savage, 
to whom every power of Nature was an obstacle and a 
hindrance, is now through Science made acquainted with 
his own constitution, and has thus attained a mastery 
over the powers of the outward universe. Who are they 
who have discovered and extended the Sciences ? have 
they accomplished this without labour and sacrifice ? 
what has been their reward ? 

While the Age in which they lived spent its days in gay 
enjoyment, they sat wrapt in solitary thought, in order that 
they might disclose a law or a relation which had called 
forth their admiration, and with respect to which they had 
absolutely no other desire than simply to disclose it ; sac 
rificing pleasure and fortune, neglecting their outward con 
cerns, and lavishing their finest genius in these researches ; 
laughed at by the multitude as fools and dreamers. Now, 
their discoveries have proved of manifold advantage to hu 
man life, as we have already called to mind. But have 
they themselves enjoyed these fruits of their labours ? have 
they foreseen or even conjectured these results? have 
they not rather, when their spiritual aspirations have been 
repressed by such views of their occupation, uttered truly 
sublime lamentations over the desecration of the Holy to 
the profane uses of life, it being concealed from them that 
life itself must be thereby sanctified ? Only when, through 
their labours, these discoveries had been made so compre 
hensible, and a knowledge of them had been so widely 


diffused, as to be carried out into practice by less inspired 
minds (whom we, looking from an entirely different point 
of view, would by no means on that account despise, but 
of whom it should be distinctly understood that they are 
not of so noble a nature as the first ;) only then have 
these discoveries been applied to the wants of life, and so 
become the means of arming the Human Race with supe 
rior power over the forces of Nature. If, thus, no vision, 
not even a presentiment, of the usefulness of their disco 
veries could indemnify them for their sacrifices, what was 
their reward ? and what, at the present day, is the reward 
of those, if at the present day there be such, who with the 
same devotion, the same sacrifices, the same disinterested 
zeal, amid the scorn and mockery of the vulgar, raise their 
eyes towards the ever-flowing fountain of Truth ? This it 
is : they have entered into a new life-element of spiritual 
clearness and purity, whereby life in any other form be 
comes absolutely repulsive to them. A Higher World, 
which is first and most intimately made known to us by 
the light which is native within it, has arisen upon them ; 
this light has filled their eyes with its beneficent and in 
spiring radiance, so that henceforth and forever they can 
regard nothing but that illumined height shining in deep 
surrounding darkness. This heavenly vision so rivets 
their gaze, so enchains their whole being, that every other 
sense is silently absorbed therein. They need no recom 
pense ; they have made an incalculable gain. 

The dreadful phantom of a Deity hostile to Mankind 
has vanished, and the Human Race is now delivered from 
this horror, and enjoys tranquillity and freedom. Who 
has eradicated this error, so widely spread and deeply rooted 
among all nations ? has this been accomplished without 
sacrifice ? what has been the reward of such sacrifice ? 

It is the Christian Religion alone which has wrought 
this stupendous miracle, and it has accomplished this 
triumph by means of countless sacrifices on the part of 


those whose lives have been filled by its inspiration and 
devoted to its service. What they have endured ; what 
the Exalted Founder himself, what his immediate fol 
lowers, what their successors through a long series of 
ages, until even to us, as to a later birth, their word 
came; what they all have wrought and suffered among 
rude and superstitious nations, animated only by the 
gladdening and inspiring truth which had risen upon 
their souls and become the ruling impulse of their lives, 
I shall not here call to mind. This Age is not ignorant, 
of these things ; it brings them sufficiently into notice, 
in order that it may laugh at the fanaticism which is 
all it can discover in them. Only through Christianity ; 
through the vast miracle in which it had its origin, and ^ 
by which it was ushered into the world, has this change 
been effected. It is no doubt quite conceivable that after 
the Truth has once been proclaimed, and in consequence 
of its numerous adherents has even acquired an authority 
among men, we may by peaceful inquiry investigate its 
foundations, reconstruct it by the power of our own under 
standing, and so, in a certain sense, rediscover it : but whence 
the great Founder obtained courage boldly to confront 
the phantom which had been consecrated by the universal 
assent of all former Ages, and the very thought of which 
had paralysed every exertion, and to discover that it ivas not, 
but that instead of it there was only Happiness and 
L ove . this was the miracle. So far as regards the re 
presentatives of this Age, it is very certain, if we may judge 
by other proofs of their acuteness and penetration, that 
it is not this acuteness, but only the unacknowledged 
influence exercised over them by this very tradition, an 
influence which they deride wherever their dull eye can 
reach it, to which they owe it that they do not, even 
to the present day, smite their faces before idols of wood, 
and pass their children through the fire to Moloch. 

Whether you can forbear from passing a sentence of 


approval on the sacrifice of personal enjoyment for the 
sake of Ideas manifested in all these examples, is the 
question which I must now leave you to answer for 
yourselves, and also to draw from this phenomenon the 
inferences which, as we formerly maintained, must neces 
sarily follow from it. 

This approval is, as we formerly explained, the immediate 
effect of the contemplation of the Life in Idea merely in 
conception, and as a condition foreign to ourselves. We 
added that the existence of this Life, not in conception 
only, but in living reality, was the source of an infinite 
self-enjoyment, which is Blessedness ; and we promised a 
description of this state, which may indeed prove but weak 
and inadequate, as every mere picture of a living reality 
must prove. 

This is the place more definitely to explain the peculiar 
nature of the Idea as such ; an explanation for which 
we have endeavoured to prepare the w r ay by our previous 
course of thought. 

I sa} r , then, that the Idea is an independent, living, matter- 
inspiring Thought. 

First, an independent Thought: Herein, indeed, con 
sists the perverted way of thinking of the Third Age, 
and generally every perverted way of thinking, that it 
ascribes independence, self-reliance, and self-subsistence to 
mere dead and torpid matter, and then superadds to that 
the quite superfluous quality of thought, one knows not 
why or how. No! Thought itself is alone truly indepen 
dent and self-existent ; not indeed the thought which 
belongs to the single thinking Individual, which truly 
cannot be self-existent, but the One Eternal Thought, in 
which all Individuals are but Thoughts. The innermost 
root of this world is not Death, Death which, by gradual 
restriction and limitation of its power, may be refined and 
subtilized into Life; but, on the contrary, Life is the root 
of the World, and what there seems to be Death is but a 


feebler form of Life. A living Thought : as is obvious 
at once, for Thought is by its very nature living, even 
as self-existence is by its very nature living ; and thus 
Thought can only be conceived of as self-existent, and 
self-existence can only be ascribed to Thought, inasmuch 
as both bear within them the Idea of Life. A matter- 
inspiring Thought : and this in a two-fold sense : All 
^material Life is the expression of the Idea; for matter 
itself is but the reflection of a latent Idea, from which 
it derives the motion and vitality it contains. But where 
the Idea breaks through this external covering, reveals 
itself openly and distinctly as Idea, and bursts forth in 
its own peculiar self-sustaining Life, then the lower grade 
of life, where the Idea lies latent, disappears in the 
higher, which now alone fills the individual life, and 
lives its own Life therein ; and then arises, in a word, 
that phenomenon which has shown itself in all our pre 
vious descriptions, the phenomenon of the sacrifice of 
the personal, i.e. of the undeveloped ideal life, to the Life 
of the Idea distinctly revealed as such. Thus, I say, it is 
with Life : not the flesh liveth but the spirit ; and this 
fundamental truth, which the speculative philosopher can 
prove by the necessary laws of thought, has been verified 
and proved in his own person by every one in whom the 
Idea has assumed a determinate living form, although it may 
be that he himself has not been clearly conscious of it. To 
raise this direct proof from personal experience into the 
clearness of distinct consciousness, and so bring it home to 
every one, is the business of popular-philosophical teaching, 
find here especially it is mine. 

We said that where the Idea manifests itself in its proper 
and independent Life, the lower form of life, namely the 
sensuous, entirely disappears in it and is for ever superseded 
and extinguished. The love of this lower form of life for 
itself, and its interest in itself, is annihilated. But all our 
wants arise only from the existence of this interest, and all 


our griefs from wounding it. The Life in the Idea is 
forever secured against all disturbance in this respect, 
for it has withdrawn itself from the sphere in which alone 
such disturbance is possible. For this Life there is no 
self-denial and no sacrifice ; the self which has to be 
denied, and the desires which have to be sacrificed, are 
withdrawn from its sight, and its love for them has dis 
appeared. This self-denial and these sacrifices excite 
astonishment only in him for whom their objects still 
possess value, because he himself has not yet relinquished 
them ; when they are once relinquished they vanish 
into oblivion, and he finds that, in truth, he has lost 
nothing. The stern and authoritative Law of Duty, which 
presupposes vicious inclinations, and only exists that it 
may scare back the first movements of desire into the dim 
obscurities of thought, is abolished in the Life in the Idea. 
4 Ce rfest que le premier pas qiii cofite. This higher Life 
once attained, that which at first was enforced upon man 
as the stern command of Duty becomes his spontaneous 
rule of conduct, the end for which alone he desires to 
live, his sole joy, love, and blessedness. Thus, it is 
only ignorance which dreams that a profound philosophy 
would recall the gloomy morality of self-crucifixion and 
martyrdom. Oh no ! it invites man to cast from him 
that which can afford no enjoyment, in order that the 
source of infinite enjoyment may approach him, and fill 
his being with its presence. 

The Idea is independent, self-sufficient, self-existent; it 
lives and has its being absolutely for its own sake alone; 
and scorns every outward and adventitious object. Hence 
it does not value and love its Life according to the 
foreign standard of any result, use, or advantage which 
may arise therefrom. As in the Life of the Eace the 
Idea strives constantly towards absolute worth, not mere 
welfare, worth in itself, not mere deserving ; so when 
it nourishes the individual life of man it is wholly 


.satisfied with this worth, without demanding any ulterior 
results. The uncertainty of such results can thus never 
cloud its inward brightness, nor the actual want of them 
cause it grief; for it has never counted upon outward 
consequences, but on the contrary has resigned them 
along with every other desire of sense. How could sorrow, 
pain, or disturbance ever enter within the circle of a Life 
thus strictly comprehended within itself? 

The Idea is sufficient in itself for the living, active Life 
which eternally flows forth from it, without need of aught 
<jlse, and without allowing aught else to exercise an in 
fluence within it. The consciousness of this ever-present 
independence; this self-sufficiency for infinite and un 
ceasing activity; the purity of this sacred, self-fed flame, 
which with steady and unvarying power burns onward 
through Eternity, is the love of the Life of Reason for 
itself, its self-enjoyment, its Blessedness. No idle brood 
ing over its own image, no contemplation of its own 
excellence ; for reflection is swallowed up in fact, and 
the unresting, ever-burning flame of real Life, having 
annihilated the Past and sunk it into the depths of 
oblivion, leaves neither time nor opportunity again to 
recall it thence. 

To those in whom the Idea has never attained to life in 
any form, such delineations of the Blessedness of the Life in 
Idea are wholly unintelligible tones from another world ; 
and since they necessarily deny the existence of any 
world but their own, dreams, folly, and fanaticism. 
But are we not entitled to calculate with some measure 
of certainty that in cultivated society every one has in 
some way or other come into contact with Ideas ? 

As the Idea is simple in its nature, so is the Blessedness 
of the Life in the Idea everywhere one and the same ; 
namely, theimmediate consciousness of original spontaneous 
Energy. It is only in relation to the objects on which 
this Energy descends, and in which it reveals itself within 


our own sense and consciousness, that the one Idea assumes- 
different forms ; which different forms are then them 
selves named Ideas. I say expressly, within our own 
sense and consciousness ; for only in consciousness do these 
manifestations of the Idea differ from each other : beyond 
that they are but one. 

The first form assumed among men by this effluence 
of Original Energy, that in which it has manifested 
itself in the earliest Ages, and in which it is most widely 
active at the present day, is its expression in outward 
matter by means of our own material power; and in 
this expression of the Idea the Fine Arts consist. Effluence 
of Original Energy, I have said, flowing forth from 
itself, and sufficient for itself, independent of experience 
or observation of the external world. This latter gives 
us only individual, and therefore ignoble and hateful, 
conceptions, which in having attained reality in one in 
stance, have attained it once too often already ; the 
repetition and multiplication of which by Art would be 
but an evil service to humanity. In outward matter, I 
said, irrespective of its peculiarities : whether the phy 
sical representation of one lost in the Idea (for this alone 
is the true object of Art) stand fixed in marble, or 
glow upon the canvass ; or the emotions of an inspired 
soul find an utterance in music, or the feelings and 
thoughts of such a mind speak themselves simply in 
words; still it is the effluence of Original Energy in 
outward matter. 

The true Artist, in the sense in which we have spoken of 
him, finds in the practice of his Art the highest enjoyment 
of the Blessedness we have described; for his whole being 
goes forth in free self-sufficient activity, and in the con 
sciousness of this activity. And is there any one, then, 
to whom every way is closed of participating in the enjov- 
ment of such creations ; and so, in a certain sense, and 
in a far inferior degree, becoming a joint-creator of them; 


and in this way at least perceiving that there is a delight 
which immeasurably transcends every enjoyment of sense? 

Another and higher form of the Idea, which however 
manifests itself in fewer individuals, is the effluence of 
Original Energy in the Social relations of Mankind ; the 
source of all great world-embracing political Ideas ; in 
life the parent of Heroism, and the author of all Law 
and Order among men. What power this Idea confers 
upon man, we have already seen ; with what Blessedness 
it fills the soul devoted to its service, follows from what 
we have said ; and whoever amongst you can think of 
the world and his country, and can devote his life to 
their service in forgetfulness of self, knows it from his 
own experience. 

A. third form of the Idea is the effluence of the Original 
Energy in the building up and reconstructing the Universe 
from itself, i.e. from Thought, in other words Science ; for 
whenever Science has shown itself among men, it has been 
essentially this which I have said, and so it must be forever. 
The high enjoyment which Science ensures to her votaries 
has been already described : we have but to add that 
this pleasure is more spiritual, and hence higher and more 
exquisite, than any other ideal enjoyment, because here the 
Idea is not only present, but is felt and enjoyed as Idea, 
as Thought itself rising into visibility from the depths of 
its own nature ; and this is without doubt the highest 
Blessedness to which mortal can attain here below. It is 
only in their outward influence that the Fine Arts have 
&n advantage over Science, inasmuch as they are able at 
times to raise even the uninitiated to their own height 
by the magic of spiritual sympathy, and so give him a 
foretaste of perfect enjoyment; while the secrets of Science 
are accessible only to those for whom they have ceased 
to be secrets. 

Finally : the most comprehensive, all-embracing and 
universally comprehensible form of the Idea; the con- 


scious dwelling of all activity and all life in the One, Ever- 
Present Source of Life, the Godhead ; or Eeligion. He 
in whom this consciousness arises with immediate and 
unalterable certitude and becomes the soul of all his other 
knowledge, thoughts, and feelings, he has entered into- 
possession of a happiness which can never be disturbed. 
Whatever he encounters, is a form of that original source 
of Life which in all its forms is holy and good, and 
which he cannot but love in every shape it may assume; 
for it is, as he may express it in other words, the Will 
of God, with which his Will is always at one. Whatever 
he may be called upon to do, however difficult, mean, or 
ignoble it may seem, is the living form of that fountain 
of Life within him, to be the expression of which con 
stitutes his greatest happiness ; it is the Will of God 
with him ; and to be the instrument of God is his supreme 
delight. He who ploughs his field in this Faith and 
Love is infinitely more blessed than he who, without 
them, removes mountains. 

These are the materials for the picture of the One Life 
according to Reason, to the delineation of which we have 
devoted the last and the present lecture. Let us now gather 
together these materials into one conception. 

We said that the different forms into which the concep 
tion of the One Eternal Original Energy separates itself in 
our consciousness, and of which we have now indicated the 
most remark able, are nevertheless, beyond this consciousness 
of ours, only one and the same Energy. Wherever this 
Energy enters into life in any one of these forms, it never 
theless, in and by virtue of that form, embraces itself as a 
Avhole, loves itself as a whole, and develops itself as a 
whole, only without its own knowledge or consciousness ; 
nowhere separated into parts, but always the One, un 
divided Energy repeated and reproduced in different 
shapes ; everywhere the One Life, the fountain of whose 
Being is in itself Alone, ceaselessly producing itself anew 


in its own primitive unity, and in its movement rolling 
forth the one undivided stream of Time. This One Idea, 
in the form of the Fine Arts, impresses upon the life- 
elements which lie around us the outward image of a 
Humanity lost in the Idea, to this end only, whether 
conscious of it or not, that thereby future generations, 
even on awakening to life, may be surrounded by repre 
sentations of what is excellent and worthy, and thus 
receive a sympathetic education of the outward sense, 
whereby an efficient preparation is made for the culti 
vation of the inward life; and so, in this particular form, 
the Idea struggles towards itself, and labours for itself, 
as a Whole. Or, the same One Idea, in the form of 
Religion, of the soaring of all Earthly Life and activity 
towards the One, Eternal, Ever-pure, Ever-good, Ever- 
blessed Source of Life, what is it ? What noble mind, 
thoroughly aware of the true character of the Earthly Life, 
and no longer attracted by it, could prevail upon itself to 
pursue this Life without that relation to the One, Eternal, 
and Abiding Life which Religion offers to its view ? And 
thus it is again the One, Undivided Idea which in this 
form of Religion upholds itself and its final issues, and 
resolves the otherwise indissoluble contradictions between 
the feelings which it inspires and the burdens which 
it cannot help imposing. And so it is with every other 
form of the Idea which we have named, and with every 
other possible form; the elucidation of which I must 
leave to your own reflection. 

Thus, I said, does the One, Eternal, Self-comprehensive, 
Self-existent Idea roll forth in the undivided Stream of 
Time. And, I add, that in every individual moment of 
this Time-stream it comprehends and pervades itself, being 
throughout all Time eternally present to itself. What 
takes place in it at any moment of time, is now, only 
because the Past has leen, and because the Future Eternity 
shall le. Nothing in this system is lost. Worlds produce 



worlds, Ages produce new Ages, which stand in contem 
plation over those which have gone before, and bring 
to light the secret bond of connexion which unites causes 
and consequences within them. Then the grave opens, 
not that which men heap together on the earth, but 
the grave of impenetrable darkness wherewith the first 
life has surrounded us, and from out it arises the mighty 
power of Ideas, which sees in a new light the End in the 
Beginning, the Perfect in the Partial ; every work how 
ever humble which springs from Faith in the Eternal 
is revealed, and the secret aspirations which are here 
imprisoned and bound down to earth soar upwards on 
unfettered pinions into a new and purer ether. 

In one word: As when the breath of Spring enlivens 
the air the strong and fixed ice, which but a moment 
before imprisoned each atom within itself and shut up 
each neighbouring atom in similar isolation, now no 
longer maintains its rigid bondage but flows forth in 
one free, animated, and glowing flood ; as the powers of 
Nature, which were before divided, and in their separation 
and antagonism produced only devastation and death, now 
rush together, embrace and interpenetrate each other, 
and in this free communion send forth a living balsam 
upon every sense ; so does the Spirit-World not indeed 
flow together at the breath of Love, for in it there is no 
Winter, but there all is and abides in eternal communion 
with the mighty Whole. Nothing individual can live 
in itself or for itself, but all live in the Whole, and this 
Whole unceasingly dies for itself in unspeakable love, 
that it may rise again in new Life. This is the law of 
the spiritual world: All that comes into existence falls 
a sacrifice to an eternally increasing and ascending Life; 
and this law constantly rules over all, without waiting 
for the consent of any. Here alone lies the distinction; 
whether man allow himself to be led, with the halter 
round his head, like a beast, to the slaughter ; or freely 


and nobly bring his life a gift to the altar of the Eternal 
Life, in the full fore-enjoyment of the new Life which is 
to arise from his ashes. 

So is it : under this sacred Legislation, willing or un 
willing, asked or unasked, we all stand ; and it is but a 
heavy fever-dream which weighs upon the brain of the 
Egoist when he thinks that he may live for himself alone, 
whereby he cannot change the nature of things, but only 
does himself a wrong. Might there some more gladden 
ing dream from out the Infinite Silence at times refresh 
the slumberer in the cradle of Eternity ! might there, 
from time to time, prophetic whispers fall upon his ear, 
that there is a Light and a Day ! 




RETURNING from a digression through which we promised 
ourselves additional light upon our way, we resume the 
straight path of our inquiry. Let us once more cast a 
glance over the purpose of this inquiry as a whole. 

It is the end of the Earthly Life of the Human Race to 
order all its relations with Freedom according to Reason. 
To do this with Freedom, with a Freedom of which the 
Eace shall be conscious, and which it shall recognise as its 
own, presupposes a condition in which this Freedom had 
not yet appeared ; not that the relations of the Race 
have at any time not been ordered according to Reason, 
for in that case there could have been no Race ; but only 
that this ordering has not been accomplished ly Freedom, 
but by Reason as a blind power ; that is, by Reason as 
Instinct. Instinct is blind; its opposite, Freedom, must 
therefore be seeing ; that is, must be a Knowledge of the 
laws of Reason according to which the Race is to order its 
relations by means of its own unconstrained activity and 
art. In order that the Race may be able to attain to 
Reason as Knowledge, and from thence to Reason as Art, 
it must in the first place set itself free from the blind do 
minion of Reason as Instinct. But far from having even 
a wish to free itself from this constraint, Humanity can- 


not help loving it, in so far as it rules as an unconscious 
power within Humanity itself. Hence this constraint 
must, in the first place, assume the form of an External 
Authority, and impose itself on Humanity with outward 
compulsion and power, as the foreign Instinct of a few 
Individuals ; against which External Authority, Humanity 
now rises in opposition and sets itself free primarily 
from this External Authority itself, but, at the same time, 
from Reason also in the form of Instinct; and since 
Reason has not yet appeared in any other form, from 
Reason altogether. 

From this principle we arrived at five great and only 
possible Epochs, exhausting the whole Earthly Life of the 
Human Race : First, That in which human affairs are 
governed by Reason as Instinct without violence or con 
straint. Second, That in which this Instinct has become 
weaker, and now only manifests itself in a few chosen In 
dividuals, and thereby becomes an External Ruling Au 
thority for all the rest. Third, That in which this Authority 
is thrown off; and, with it, Reason in every shape which 
it has yet assumed. Fourth, That in which Reason in the 
shape of Knowledge appears among men. Fifth, That in 
which Art associates itself with Knowledge, in order to 
mould Human Life with a firmer and surer hand into har 
mony with Knowledge, and in which the ordering of all 
the relations of Man according to Reason is, by means of 
this Art, freely accomplished, the object of the Earthly 
Life attained, and our Race enters upon the higher spheres 
of another World. 

We chose for the principal subject-matter of these dis 
courses the characteristics of the Third of the Epochs 
above mentioned, in consequence of the opinion which we 
expressed that the Present Age stands in this Third Epoch : 
of the correctness or incorrectness of which opinion we 
left you entirely to judge for yourselves. 

This Third Epoch, as the declared foe of all blind Instinct 


and of all Authority, takes this maxim as its motto : 
Accept nothing but what is understood, that is, under 
stood immediately, and by means of the previously existing 
and hereditary Common Sense. Could we lay open the 
true nature of this Common Sense, which the Third Epoch 
assumes as the standard of all its thoughts and opinions, 
we should then have a clear analysis of its whole system 
of thought and opinion. 

This also we have accomplished. Reason in whatever 
shape it reveals itself, whether as Instinct or as Knowledge, 
always necessarily embraces the Life of the Race as a Race ; 
Reason being thrown off and extinguished, nothing re 
mains but the mere individual, personal life. Hence in 
the Third Age, which has set itself free from Reason, there 
is nothing remaining but this latter life ; nothing, wherever 
the Age has thoroughly manifested itself and arrived at 
clearness and consistency, except pure, naked Egoism ; and 
hence it naturally follows that the inborn and established 
Common Sense of the Third Age can be nothing else, and 
can contain nothing else, than the wisdom which provides 
for its personal well-being. 

The means of the support and well-being of the personal 
life can only be discovered by Experience, since man has no 
direct guide thereto, either in an animal instinct such as 
the beasts possess ; or in Reason which has for its object 
only the Life of the Race : and hence the assumption of 
Experience as the only source of knowledge is a charac 
teristic trait of such an Age. 

From this principle there arise further those views of 
Knowledge, of Art, of the Social Relations of Men, of 
Morality, and of Religion, which we have in like manner 
adduced as prevailing characteristics of such an Age. 

In one word: the permanent and fundamental peculiarity 
and characteristic of such an Age is this, that every 
genuine product of it thinks and does all that he actually 
thinks arid does solely for himself and for his own peculiar 


advantage; just as the opposite principle, that of a Life 
according to Reason, consists herein, that each Individual 
ought to devote his own personal life to the Life of the 
Race ; or in other words, as it afterwards appeared that 
the form in which this Life of the Race enters into con 
sciousness and becomes an active power in the life of the 
Individual is called Idea, that each Individual ought 
to place his personal life, and power, and all enjoyment 
thereof, in Ideas. In order to make clearer our farther 
characterization of the Third Age, by contrasting it with 
the Life according to Reason, we have in our last two 
lectures entered upon a delineation of this Life, and with 
respect to that matter, I have now only to add the follow 
ing remarks : 

In the first place: Herein, namely, in the distinction 
which we have pointed out between a life devoted to mere 
personal well-being, and a life devoted to the Idea, lies 
the difference between the Life opposed to Reason and the 
Life according to Reason ; and it is of no importance here 
whether, in the latter case, the Idea reveal itself in the 
obscurity of mere Instinct, as in the First Epoch ; or be 
imposed by External Authority, as in the Second; or gtand 
bright and clear in the fulness of Knowledge, as in the 
Fourth ; or rule in the equally clear realization of Art, as 
in the Fifth ; and in this respect the Third Age does not 
stand opposed to any one of the others in particular ; but, 
as being essentially and throughout contrary to Reason, 
it stands opposed to all other Time, as essentially and in 
substance in accordance with Reason though from Age 
to Age under various forms. 

In the particular manifestations of the Idea, and its mode 
of working, which we have adduced in our last two lectures, 
it appears only in the form of Instinct ; for we have there 
described only the Time which precedes the Third Age, 
which indeed first makes the existence of that Age possible, 
and when Time in general has not yet advanced to the 


manifestation of the Idea in clear consciousness. Let this 
distinction be henceforth kept in view to prevent mis 

Now should any one reject and repudiate our delineation 
of a mode of thought in which everything is dedicated to 
Ideas, as well as this mode of thought itself; should fret 
over it, attempt to decry it, and represent it as unnatural, 
(always to himself of course) and as a foolish fanaticism ; 
against such a repudiation we can do nothing, and would 
do nothing if we could. The more frequently, loudly, and 
openly this is done, the more thoroughly is there developed, 
and the more quickly will pass away a mode of thought 
through which humanity must necessarily pass; and, I may 
add, the more clearly does it appear that I have hit my 
mark. But I wish that this repudiation were honestly, 
openly, and unequivocally avowed ; and in so far as it lies 
with me, I would remove every pretence behind which such 
a repudiation can take shelter while something else seems 
to occupy its place. In this way I desire to do everything 
and am conscious of having hitherto done everything in my 
power to take away the pretext that these discourses have 
not been thoroughly understood; and that if they were they 
would be at once assented to. These discourses still exist 
precisely as they were delivered: the meaning of the language, 
the sequence of thought, the definition of each individual 
thought by other thoughts, upon which the clearness of a 
discourse depends, all these things have their well-defined 
rules ; and it may still be determined whether these rules 
have been followed; and I, for my own part, believe that I 
have said nothing but that precisely which I intended to say. 
A discourse, indeed, which undertakes really to say some 
thing must be heard from beginning to end and in all its 
parts. But when a man, let him hear as often as he will, at 
each new hearing still misconceives what is said; in him 
there is no understanding at all, but only some empty husks 
of phraseology learned by rote, like chaff upon the granary 



floor. To make this clear by two examples selected at 
random : Should some one, for instance, with his head full 
of the unhappy, newly invented, confusion of language 
according to which every thought may, by a pleasant 
change of expression, be named Idea, and in which there 
is no objection to speaking of the idea of a chair or a 
bench ; should such an one wonder how so much im 
portance is attached to the dedication of Life to Ideas, 
and how in this can be placed the characteristic dis 
tinction between two opposite classes of men, whereas 
everything which enters the mind of any human being 
is Idea; such an one has understood nothing at all of 
what we have hitherto said; but without any fault of ours. 
For we have not failed strictly to discriminate between 
Conceptions which, by means of Experience, find their way 
into the understanding of the mere sensuous man ; and 
Ideas which, independent of all Experience, kindle into 
self-sustaining life in those who are inspired by them. 

Or should any one be unable to get over a certain catch 
word, brought into circulation, with others of the same kind 
of which it would be quite as difficult to give any rational 
account, by some conceited bel esprit, the word Individu 
ality fair, lovely Individuality ! and with this under 
standing of the word, which may indeed be true in one 
sense, find himself unable to reconcile our unconditional 
rejection of all Individuality ; then such an one has not 
understood that by Individuality we mean only the per 
sonal, sensuous existence of the Individual, which is the true 
meaning of the word ; and by no means deny, but rather 
expressly teach and inculcate, that the One Eternal Idea 
assumes a new and hitherto unknown form in each In 
dividual in whom it comes to Life, and this by its own 
power and under its own legislation, and quite independ 
ently of physical nature : consequently in no way deter 
mined thereto by the sensuous Individuality, but on the 
contrary abolishing such Individuality altogether, and of 


itself alone moulding the Ideal Individuality, or, as it 
may be more properly called, Originality. 

Finally, in this connexion let us add the following : We 
by no means assume here the strict tone and compulsive 
form of demonstration ; but, in addressing open and unpre- 
judiced minds, we have limited ourselves to the modest style 
of popular lectures, and to the moderate desire of holding 
intercourse with such minds in a convenient and becoming 
way. But should there be some one who loves to examine 
and judge upon more special grounds, and wishes to do 
so here ; then let it not be conceald from him that, not 
withstanding our apparent superficiality, we have yet 
surrounded him with a chain of argument, which he 
may well consider and bethink himself what link of it 
he shall first attempt to break. Should he say, All 
this devotion of Life to the realization of an Idea is a 
mere chimera to which we ourselves have given birth; 
then we have proved to him historically, that at all times 
there have been men who have led this Life in the Idea, 
and that all things great and good which now exist in the 
world, are the products of this Life. Or should he say, 
* Even if this has been so, this way of Life is an old folly and 
superstition, and our present enlightened Age is far above 
it; then we have shown that since he himself cannot re 
frain from admiring and reverencing, even against his will, 
such a mode of Life, there must lie at the bottom of this 
admiration and reverence a principle to this effect, that 
the personal life ought to be dedicated to the Idea; and thus, 
by his own confession, such a mode of Life is approved by 
the voice of Reason immediately audible within us, and 
therefore is no superstition. Both these positions being 
cut off, there would remain no other course for him but 
to declare boldly that he has never discovered in him 
self any such specific feeling as that of admiration or 
reverence, and that it has never happened to him 
to reverence or respect anything; and in this case he 


would have entirely got rid of our premises and therefore 
of all their consequences; and we should then be perfectly 
satisfied with him. 

In the extended picture of the Third Age which it is now 
my duty to present to you, I ought, perhaps, in the opinion 
of most of those who may have considered the matter, 
to proceed to a description of the relation of the Present 
Age to the several forms of the One Idea which I have 
set forth in the last lecture; and this plan I have 
approximately followed in the general characterization 
of the Age which is contained in the second lecture. 

But I have already stated, and I now repeat, that the 
fundamental maxim of this Age is to accept nothing but 
that which it can understand : the point upon which it 
takes its stand is thus a conception. It has also been already 
shown that it does not attain the Epochal character, and 
assume the rank of a separate Age, so long as it only 
blindly follows this maxim ; but that it can then only be 
clearly understood when it recognises itself in this 
maxim, and accepts it as the Highest. Hence the dis 
tinctive and peculiar characteristic of this Age is this 
notion of conception, and it bears the/orm of Knowledge ; 
only the empty form, indeed, since that from which 
alone Knowledge derives its value, the Idea, is wholly 
wanting here. Hence, in order to get at the root of this 
Age, we must first speak of its system of Knowledge. In 
our description of this system, its views of the fundamen 
tal forms of the Idea, as necessary parts of the system 
itself, must likewise come into view. 

In order to give you, in this place, a still more compre 
hensive glance of what you have now to expect, I add the 
following ground of distinction, to which I have not yet 
adverted. The maxim of the Age is to accept nothing but 
that which it can understand, understand, that is to say, 
through the mere empirical conceptions of Experience ; 


and, therefore, wherever the Age can establish itself in suffi 
cient power and consistency, it sets up this maxim as its 
scientific principle, and by it estimates and judges every 
acquisition of knowledge. But it cannot fail that others, 
not so entirely under the rule of the prevailing spirit, but 
without having yet descried the morning-dawn of the 
new Age, must feel the infinite emptiness and platitude 
of such a maxim ; and then, imagining that to get at 
the True we have only to reverse the False, are disposed 
to place all wisdom in the Incomprehensible and the 
Unintelligible. But since these too, with their whole 
mode of thinking, arise out of the Age, and are nothing 
but its reaction against itself; so, notwithstanding the 
antagonism of their principles, they as well as the others 
are products of the Age, and under other conditions 
would have been but the residue of a former Time ; and 
he who would comprehend the Knowledge of the Age, 
must bring forward and investigate both principles : 
as we shall do. 

There is now only one more general remark with which 
I must preface our delineation, namely, the following : 
Whether that which we call the Third Age is precisely 
our own, and whether the phenomena which I shall de 
rive by strict deduction from the principle of this Age, 
are those which now exist before our eyes ; on this 
point I have more than once said I leave you to form 
your own judgment. But in case any one should desire 
to pass such a judgment, it is necessary to guard him 
against such reasoning as the following : Well, suppose 
that it cannot be denied that this is the case at present, 
yet it is by no means a feature peculiar to our Age, but 
may always have been so. With this view, when speak 
ing of any phenomena of which this might by possibility 
be said, I shall call to your recollection Ages in which it 
was otherwise than it is now. 


We commence the delineation of the scientific condition 
of the Third Age, by a description of its/own, that is, of 
the fixed and essential peculiarities which permeate its 
whole existence ; and we trace these peculiarities in this 
way : 

When the Idea enters into life it creates an inexhaustible 
power and energy, and only from the Idea can such energy 
arise: an Age without the Idea must therefore be a weak 
and powerless Age ; and all it does, all wherein it shows 
any sign of life, is accomplished in a languid and sickly 
manner, without any visible manifestation of energy. 
And, with respect to its pursuits, since we are now in par 
ticular discoursing of Knowledge, it is neither powerfully 
drawn towards any one subject, nor does it thoroughly pene 
trate any ; but, impelled by a momentary caprice or other 
passion, one day to this and another day to that subject, it 
satisfies itself with glancing at some superficial Appearance, 
instead of penetrating to the inmost Truth. In its 
opinions on these subjects, such an Age is dragged here 
and there by the blind influence of association, consistent 
iu nothing but in this universal superficiality and fickle 
ness; and in its first principle, that in this levity true 
wisdom consists. Not so with him who is animated by 
Knowledge in the form of the Idea. It has arisen 
upon him in one particular point of enquiry, and to 
this one point it holds his whole life and all its powers 
enchained, until it becomes perfectly clear to him and 
sheds forth a new light on the entire Universe of 
Thought. That such men have formerly existed, and 
that Knowledge has not always been prosecuted in such 
a shallow and feeble manner as that in which the Third Ao-e 


must necessarily pursue it, is proved at least by the dis 
covery of Mathematics among the ancients. Finally, in its 
communication of thought, whether in speech or in writing, 
the same mediocrity and feebleness are apparent. These 
communications never show forth an organic whole, with 


all its parts proceeding from, and referred back to, one 
central point; but they rather resemble a cloud of sand 
in which each grain is a whole to itself, and which is 
only held together by the inconstant wind. It seems a 
master-stroke of invention in such an Age to hit upon 
the mode of communicating knowledge after the order 
of the letters of the alphabet. Hence its representa 
tions can never possess clearness ; the want of which is 
supplied by a tiresome perspicacity amounting to noth 
ing more than frequent repetition of the same thing. 
Wherever this Age attains to its full efficiency, this mode 
of communication even comes to understand itself and 
to represent itself as worthy of imitation ; so that from 
thenceforward elegance is placed in neither giving the 
reader the trouble of thinking for himself, nor in any way 
calling forth his own independent activity, which indeed 
is considered obtrusive ; and the classical writings of 
the Age are those which every one may read without 
preparation, and peruse, and lay aside, and still remain 
exactly what he was before. Not so he who has Ideas to com 
municate and who is moved by Ideas to such communica 
tion. Not he himself speaks, but the Idea speaks, or writes, 
in him with indwelling power; and that only is a good 
-discourse wherein the speaker does not so much declare the 
thought, as the thought declares itself by the organ of the 
speaker. That such discourses have been delivered, at least 
in former times, and that it has not always been the fashion 
to avoid ,arousing independent thought in the mind of the 
hearer or~reader, is proved by the writings which are left 
to us of classical antiquity ; the study of which, indeed, 
and of the languages in which they are written, will be 
discountenanced and discarded by the Third Age wherever 
it acts consequentially, in order that its own produc 
tions alone may be held in honour and esteem. 

The Idea, and the Idea only, fills, satisfies, and blesses 
the mind : an Age without the Idea must therefore neces- 


sarily suffer from the consciousness of unsatisfied vacuity, 
which manifests itself in an infinite, unappeasable, con 
stantly recurring weariness : it must be wearied as well 
as wearisome. In this unpleasant state of feeling it 
grasps eagerly at that which seems its only remedy, 
namely, Wit ; either for its own gratification, or else to 
break, from time to time, the weariness which it is con 
scious of producing in others, and thus, in the long deserts 
of its seriousness, to sow here and there some grain of 
sport. This design must indeed of necessity fail, for he 
only is capable of Wit who is susceptible of Ideas. 

Wit is the communication of profound Truth, that is, 
of Truth belonging to the region of Ideas, in its most direct 
and intuitive aspect. In its most direct and intuitive 
aspect, I say; and in this respect Wit is the opposite of 
the communication of the same Truth in a chain of con 
secutive reasoning. When, for example, the philosopher 
separates an Idea, step by step, into its individual com 
ponent parts ; interprets each of these separate parts, one 
after the other, by means of some other conception which 
limits and defines it, and pursues this course until he has 
exhausted the whole Idea ; then he proceeds in the way 
of methodical communication and proves indirectly the 
truth of his Idea. Should it happen, however, that he 
can at last encompass the whole Idea in its absolute 
unity with one single light-beam which shall, as with 
a lightning flash, illumine and reveal it, and penetrate 
each intelligent hearer or reader, so that he must at once 
exclaim, Yes, truly, so is it; now I see it at one glance/ 
then is this the representation of the Idea in question 
in its most direct and intuitive aspect, or its expression 
by Wit ; and in such a case by direct or positive Wit. 
Again, Truth may also be proved indirectly, by showing 
the folly and error of its opposite ; and when this is done, 
not by methodical and gradual exposition, but in im 
mediate and intuitive clearness, then this is indirect, 


and, in relation to the Idea, negative Wit ; exciting 
laughter in those to whom it is addressed : it is Wit as 
the source of the Ridiculous ; for Error in its direct and 
intuitive aspect is essentially ridiculous. 

What this Age attempts to reach is not Wit in the 
first sense, of which even its theories are silent, but in 
the second, namely, in the form of derision, and as ex 
citing laughter; laughter being a means pointed out 
by the instinct of Nature itself, for refreshing the mind 
exhausted by long-continued weariness, and in some 
measure enlivening its stagnation by the stirring emotion 
which it communicates. But even in this shape Wit 
remains necessarily inaccessible to this Age, for in order 
freely to perceive and represent Error in direct and 
self-evident clearness it is necessary to be oneself superior 
to Error. This Age has no Wit ; but rather it is often 
the object of Wit, and that most frequently when, in its 
own estimation, it is most witty ; i.e. it then manifests 
to the intelligent observer, in its own person, Folly and 
Error in their highest perfection ; but without the slightest 
suspicion of doing so. He who, in order to paint the 
Age to the life, has put things into its mouth to which 
it often unexpectedly gives utterance with the greatest 
possible gravity, he may securely call himself a Wit. 

How then does the Third Age acquire its measure of the 
Ridiculous, and the kind of scoffing irony which serves it in 
place of Wit? Thus: it sets it down as indisputable that 
its Truth is the right Truth ; and whatever is contrary to 
that must be false. Should any one then take up the op 
posite position he is of course in error, which is absurd : 
and hereupon it shows, in striking examples, how entirely 
different the opposite view is from its own, and that in no 
single point can they coalesce ; which indeed may be true. 
This once laughed at, it readily finds those who will join 
the laugh, if it only apply to the right quarter. Assuming 
a scientific form, according to established custom, this 



principle is soon understood and dogmatically announced; 
and it now appears as an axiom to this effect, that 
Ridicule is the touchstone of truth and consequently that 
anything may be at once recognised as false, without 
farther proof, if a jest can be raised at its expense, in 
the manner indicated above. 

Observe the immense advantages which an Age ac 
quires through this, at first sight, insignificant discovery. 
In the first place, it is by this means established in secure 
possession of its own wisdom ; for the Age will always 
be careful not to apply this test of the Ridiculous to its 
own Knowledge, nor to join in the laugh should others 
so apply it, an application which is not at all impossible. 
It is thus spared the trouble of disproving what is brought 
against it, and has no more to do than to show how far 
this is from agreement with its own views, and from 
having hit the mark of its opinion ; thus making its 
opponents ridiculous, and, should it bring ill-humour in 
its train, suspected and even hated. Finally, this 
laughter is in itself a pleasant and healthy recreation, 
by which the most oppressive ennui may frequently be 

No ! I speak to all here present without exception, in 
whom I believe that I speak not to members of the Third 
Age, with whom indeed I never wish to speak, nor to mem 
bers of any other Age, but of whom I suppose that they 
are with myself elevated above all Time, and are now looking 
down on this particular portion of it : no, I say, "Wit is 
a godlike spark, and never condescends to Folly. It dwells 
eternally with the Idea, and never quits its fellowship. In 
its first shape, it is the wonderful light-conductor in the 
Spiritual World, by which Wisdom spreads from the point 
on which she first alights until she reach and embrace 
all other points. In its second shape, it is the avenging 
lightning of the Idea, which seeks out every folly, even 
in the midst of its disciples, and surely .strikes it to the 


ground. Whether hurled by the hand of an individual 
with deliberate aim, or not so directed, it still, even in 
the latter case, reaches its object with the sure course 
of concealed and inevitable fate. Like the suitors of 
Penelope, who, when already beset with impending de 
struction, raved through the dim palace-halls of Ithaca, 
with frenzied laughter mocking their lugubrious aspects; 
so do these laugh with insensate mirth, for in their laugh 
ter the Eternal Wit of the World-Spirit laughs at them. 
We shall not grudge them this enjoyment, and we shall 
be careful not to take the bandage from their eyes. 

(85 ) 



THE principle of the Third Age, that Age which we have 
undertaken to describe, is now sufficiently apparent : 
this, namely, to accept nothing whatever but that which it 
understands. The Comprehensible is its highest Idea; it is 
thus Scientific in its form ; and any complete delineation 
of it must commence with a description of its Scientific 
position, because it here becomes most clear and intel 
ligible to itself; and from this, its best defined point, all 
its other characteristics may most readily be deduced. 

In our last lecture, we described this Scientific position 
in the first place as regards its form, that is, by means 
of certain general and fundamental peculiarities which are 
visible in all its phenomena, and which spring directly 
from its essential characteristic its incapacity for the Idea. 
The Idea, we said, was the source of all power ; this Age 
must therefore necessarily be feeble and powerless : the 
Idea was the source of a perennial satisfaction ; this Age 
must therefore be conscious of an emptiness which it en 
deavours to supply by means of Wit, although this is 
unattainable by it. To-day we desire to present you 
with a concise description of this Scientific position itself 
as 4 it actually exists. 

In the first place, let me remark what I. have already 
mentioned in passing on a previous occasion, but here de- 


sire to enforce, and for the first time to apply : Every 
possible Age strives to encompass and pervade the whole 
Race ; and only in so far as it succeeds in doing this does 
it manifest the true character of an Age, since besides 
this Life of the Race there is nothing remaining but 
the phenomena of individual life. 

So also the Third Age. It is in its nature an Age of 
Knowledge ; and it must therefore labour and strive to 
raise all Mankind to this position. To this Age, Un 
derstanding, as the highest and decisive tribunal, pos 
sesses a value in itself; and indeed the highest value, 
determining all other value : hence men are esteemed 
only in so far as they readily receive or studiously acquire 
the Conceptions of the Understanding, and easily apply 
and clearly discriminate among them ; and all the efforts 
of the Age in the Culture of Mankind must be directed 
to this end. It matters not that individual voices may 
be heard from time to time exclaiming Act ! act ! that 
is the business : what shall mere knowledge avail us ? 
for either by such action is meant only another form of 
learning ; or else those voices are but the reaction against 
itself of an Age dissatisfied with its own emptiness, of which 
we have already made mention in our last lecture : and 
by such a reaction this Age, in all its varied manifestations, 
is usually accompanied. In judging of this point, the 
decisive test is the Education which an Age bestows on the 
children of all classes, but particularly on those of the 
people. Is it found that, among all classes, the aim of 
such Education is that children should know something ; 
and that, in particular among the people, the main ob 
ject is that they should be enabled to read with facility, 
and, so far as it may be attainable, to write also ; and 
generally, that they should acquire the Knowledge pe 
culiar to the class on whom their Education devolves : 
as for example, where that Education is entrusted to 
the clerical body, that they should be well versed in 


a systematic and tabular code of dogmatics under the 
name of a catechism ; is this, I say, found to be so? then 
experience makes good that which we have said. Should 
other maxims of popular Education here and there make 
their appearance, and even be in part carried out, this is 
but the reaction : the former is the rule, without which 
indeed no reaction could take place. 

It is impossible that these influences, directed upon the 
Age on all sides and from every quarter, should entirely fail 
of their purpose. Every individual, even the most insigni 
ficant and least cultivated, will in some measure acquire an 
independent consciousness and knowledge of himself ; that 
is, since the enlightenment of the Age is throughout ne 
gative, he will by means of reflection raise himself above 
something which has been taught him in his youth, and will 
no longer be restrained by many things which before re 
strained him. And thus does man recognise himself as 
Man, attain to independent thought, and the whole Age 
transforms itself into a fixed camp of Formal Knowledge, 
in which, indeed, many and various degrees of rank are 
to be found, but where each brings his contribution to the 
common armoury. 

I trust that no one here will so far misunderstand what I 
have said, as to suppose that I unconditionally condemn the 
characteristics of this Age which we have now adduced, 
and thereby attach myself to a party which has already 
appeared in many shapes, and lately in that of Philosophy 
also, and which in every shape it has assumed has rightly 
borne the name of Obscuranti. Were the Knowledge of 
the Third Age Knowledge of the right sort, it should in 
that case deserve no blame for its striving to reach all 
men of every class. Bather do those representatives of 
the Age, who desire to retain their wisdom to themselves, 
and will not allow it to be spread forth among the 
masses, only exhibit their inconsistency On a new side. 
The Age which succeeds the Third, that of True Know- 


ledge, w iH also strive to embrace all men, for if the 
Laws of Reason are to be made manifest by Art through 
out the whole Race, every individual of the Race must 
possess at least a certain amount of knowledge of these 
Laws, since each individual must uphold, by his own 
private and individual conduct, the outward and public 
dominion of Reason in the Race, which again reacts in aid 
of individual effort. All without exception must sooner 
or later attain to Reason as Knowledge; therefore all 
without exception must first be set free from the blind 
faith in Authority. To accomplish this is the object of 
the Third Age, and in this it does well. 

Understanding, I said, for its own sake possesses a value 
to this Age, and indeed the highest value, determining 
all other value ; and upon it is made to depend the 
dignity and worth of all personality. It is therefore an 
honour in the estimation of this Age, simply to have 
thought for oneself, provided only that something new 
has been brought forward, even although this originality 
may be merely an obvious perversion of Truth. This 
Age will never pronounce a final judgment; and by this 
judgment arrive at ultimate Truth, where it might then 
remain steadfast and for ever : it is too faint-hearted 
to do this ; it only desires a treasury of materials for 
opinion, among which it may have the power of choice, 
should it at any time desire to form a judgment; 
and therefore every one is welcomed who can increase this 
store. Thus it happens that individuals, not only without 
shame, but even with a certain self-satisfaction, step forth 
and proclaim See, here is my opinion ; this is the way in 
which I, for my part, conceive of this matter : for the rest 
I willingly allow that others may think quite differently of 
it/ and that these individuals even give themselves credit 
for an amiable modesty of spirit ; whereas, in the truly 
reasonable mode of thought, it is the greatest arrogance 
to suppose that our personal opinion is of any essential 


value, and that any one can be interested in knowing how 
we, important personages as we are, look upon the matter; 
and before the tribunal of this mode of thought no one has 
a right to open his mouth before he is thoroughly satisfied 
that his speech shall be not of himself, but the utterance 
of the Pure Reason within him ; and that therefore every 
one who comprehends him, and desires to maintain the 
rank of a reasonable being, will recognise his utterance 
as true and genuine. 

Understanding, for its own sake, possesses the highest 
value for this Age: this Understanding has therefore 
supreme Authority, and becomes the first and primitive 
Authority, limited by no other. Hence arises the all- 
ruling idea of Intellectual Freedom, freedom of Scien 
tific judgment and of public opinion. Let it be made 
manifest to a true son of this Age that what he has 
produced is absurd, ridiculous, immoral, and corrupt : 
That is nothing/ he replies ; I have thought it, of 
my own self I have created it, and thought of itself is 
always some merit for it costs some labour ; and man 
must be at liberty to think what he pleases : and, truly, 
against this one can have nothing further to say. Let it 
be shown to another that he is ignorant of the very first 
principle of an Art or a Science upon the results of which 
he has pronounced at great length, and that the whole do 
main to which it belongs is quite beyond his knowledge : 
Am I thereby tacitly to understand, he replies, that I 
ought not to have exercised my judgment under these cir 
cumstances? Surely those who say this have no conception 
of the Freedom of Judgment which belongs of right to 
men of learning. If a man were in every case to study 
and understand that upon which he pronounces a judg 
ment the unconditional Liberty of Thought would thereby 
be much limited and circumscribed ; and there would 
be found exceedingly few who could venture to pronounce 
an opinion ; whereas the Freedom of Judgment consists 



in this, that every man may judge of all things whether 
he understands them or not! Has any one, in the 
circle of a few friends perhaps, allowed an assertion to 
escape him which it may be supposed he would not 
willingly see published to the world ? In a week or 
two the printing press is at work to announce the re 
markable fact to the world and to posterity. The 
journals take a part on one side and on the other, carefully 
investigating and inquiring whether the assertion was 
actually made or not, before whom was it made, what 
were the exact words employed, and under what con 
ditions the offender may be dismissed in the meantime 
with a partial punishment, or else be irretrievably con 
demned. He must stand the brunt ; and it will be well 
for him if, at the end of a few years, he find his business 
forgotten in some new affair. Let no man smile at this; 
for thereby he will only show that he has no sense of the 
high value of Public Opinion. But should any one who is 
summoned before the tribunal of this Public Opinion dare 
to despise its authority, then total perplexity takes posses 
sion of the minds of its representatives, and to the end of 
their lives they gaze in profound astonishment at the man 
who has had courage sufficient to scorn their jurisdiction. 
They have of a truth thought this which they say; at 
least they have assumed the air of having thought it. How 
then can any reasonable man refuse to pay them that 
respectful submission which is their due ? 

The right to raise itself in thought to the conception of 
the Laws of Reason, free from all constraint of outward 
authority, is indeed the highest, inalienable right of Hu 
manity : it is the unchangeable vocation of the Earthly 
Life of the Race. But no man has a right to wander 
recklessly about in the empty domain of unsettled Opinion; 
for such a course is directly opposed to the distinctive 
character of Humanity, i.e. to Reason. Neither would any 
Age have such a right, were it not that this unsettled 


hovering between authority and mere emptiness is a neces 
sary step in the progress of our Race, whereby it may first 
be set free from blind constraint, and then be impelled to 
wards Knowledge by the oppressive sense of its own vacuity. 
Let these men, then, with their pretensions about unlimited 
Freedom of Thought and unrestrained Public Opinion, 
make what demands they please ; and let no man hinder 
them from degrading themselves as far, and making 
themselves as ridiculous, as they please ; this must be 
permitted them. And who should desire to hinder them? 
Not the State, at least no State that understands its 
own interest. The State has charge of watching over 
the outward actions of its citizens, and ordering these 
actions by means of imperative laws which, if they are 
rightly adapted to the nation and imposed without dis 
tinction upon all, must, without danger of failure, secure 
and maintain the order which is contemplated. The 
opinions of the citizens are not actions ; let these opi 
nions be even dangerous, still if crime is sure of its 
threatened punishment it will be suppressed despite of 
opinion. The State may either attempt to change the 
opinions of its citizens for its own advantage : and in 
this case it partly undertakes a thing which it cannot 
accomplish, and partly shows that its laws are not adapted 
to the existing condition of the nation to which this 
system of opinion belongs ; or, that the governing power 
is inadequate, and, being unable to trust to its own re 
sources, needs the aid of a foreign power which yet it can 
not incorporate with itself. Or, the State may attempt, 
perhaps with the purest intentions, and from the warmest 
zeal on the part of its administrators for the advancement 
of the dominion of Reason, it may attempt to combat 
the prevailing opinions by means of external power; and 
in this case it undertakes a thing in which it can never 
succeed, for all men feel that it then takes the form of 
injustice, and the persecuted opinion, being thus to a cer- 


tain extent put in the right, gains new friends by the 
injustice which it suffers, and by this conviction of the 
justice of its cause acquires a stronger power of opposition; 
and the matter ends by the State being obliged to yield, 
whereby it once more shows only its own weakness. In like 
manner, neither will the few worshippers of True Knowledge 
hinder these advocates of unrestricted license. They have 
no power to do so; and if they had, they would not desire 
to use it. Their weapons are no other than the forces 
of Reason ; their wishes for the world no other than that 
these forces should make their way by means of free con 
viction. Whatever they say is to be clearly understood 
as true and as alone true : nothing they say is to be 
learned by rote and accepted in faith and trust; for then 
would Humanity be only brought back again to bondage, 
and subjected to a new authority; and instead of the de 
sired progress there would be only a retreat in a new 
direction. Could these men comprehend it, they would no 
doubt acknowledge its truth; for we do not charge them 
with the baseness which disavows its own conviction of 
better things. But precisely because they do not compre 
hend it they are what they are ; and so must they remain 
so long as they do not comprehend it : since they are 
once for all what they are, it is impossible for them to 
become anything else ; and they must be endured, as 
integral parts of an unchangeable and necessary order of 

This mode of thought, I said before, will strive to spread 
itself universally; and in certain masses of the Human Race 
it will succeed in this, and with them the whole Age will 
become a camp of mere Formal Knowledge. Who rules in 
this camp, and leads on its armies ? * Clearly, jt wjlL-be 
answered. * the Heroes of the Age; the champions in whom 
the Spirit of the Time has most gloriously revealed itself.* 
But who are these, and by what marks are they to be re 
cognised ? Perchance by the importance of the researches 


which they set on foot, or the truth which radiates from 
their doctrines, and enlightens all men ? How were that 
possible, when the Age passes no judgment whatever upon 
the importance or truth of anything, but only collects a 
store of opinions as materials for a future judgment ? Thus 
he who only announces an opinion, and thereby brings his 
contribution to the great magazine of general speculation, 
in this way qualifies himself to be a leader of the host. But, 
as we have already observed, there is no preeminence to be 
attained in this Age ; for every one who breathes its at 
mosphere, has at one time or another swelled the general 
store of opinion by producing some conception of his own. 
Unfortunately a disaster often befalls this fertile capacity 
of thought; this, namely, that the opinion which bears 
universal sway in the evening is in the morning forgotten 
by all the world, even by its own prolific inventor; and so 
this new contribution to the treasures of the Age vanishes 
into thin air. But should a method be discovered by which 
this fact of an opinion having been announced, as well as 
the opinion itself in so far as this latter may be possible, 
should be firmly established and protected against the next 
morning s breeze, so that all who are blessed with sound 
eyesight might be distinctly advertised that an opinion had 
been ushered into the world, and the thinker himself be 
provided with a safeguard against forgetting what he has 
thought ; if, for example, the arts of Writing and Print 
ing were discovered then should the Age be delivered 
from its perplexity. Then he whose opinions stood perma 
nently recorded by means of ink and paper should belong 
to the Heroes of the Age, the sublime phalanx of whom 
constitutes a community of votaries of Knowledge, or, as 
they better love to be called, their whole being resting 
only on empiricism, a Republic of Letters. 

In this view the Age is by no means disturbed by the 
consideration that the admission into this glorious senate of 
humankind is usually effected through the nearest printer, 


whose knowledge of what he prints is even less than that 
of the writer as to what he writes, and whose only desire 
is to exchange his own printed paper for that of others. 

In this way the Republic of Letters is brought together. 
By means of the printing press it is separated from the 
masses who do not print anything, and whose position 
in the camp of Formal Knowledge is that of Readers 
only. Hence arise new relations and connexions between 
these two principal sections of the camp of Formal 

The first purpose of printing is obviously to announce 
publicly to all the world the independence of mind possessed 
by the Author; from this arises, in Science, a straining after 
new or seemingly new opinions; and in Literature, a strug 
gling after new forms. He who has attained this end, gains 
the favour of his Reader, whether or not, in the one case, 
his opinion\)Q true; or, in the other, his form be beautiful. 
But when the printing press has thoroughly come into 
play even this novelty is laid aside, and mere printing, 
for its own sake alone, becomes a merit ; and then 
arises, in Science, the tribe of compilers, who give to the 
world what has been given to it a hundred times be 
fore, only with some slight transposition of its parts ; and 
in Literature, the fashionable author, who continues to 
repeat a form which has already been so long employed 
by others or by himself, that at last no man can dis 
cover anything good in it. 

This stream of Literature now flows forth, constantly re 
newing itself; each new tide displacing its forerunner; so 
that the purpose originally contemplated in printing is frus 
trated, and the hope of immortality by means of the press 
destroyed. It matters not to have brought forth one s opi 
nion in open print, unless one also possess the art to con 
tinue so to do unceasingly : for all that is Past is soon 
forgotten. Who is there that shall bear it in memory? 
Not the Author as such : for since each strives after 


something new, no one listens to another, but each goes 
his own way, and promulgates his own conceptions. 
Not the Reader : for he, glad to be done with the old, 
flies to the newest comers, in choosing among whom he 
is for the most part guided by mere chance. In these 
circumstances no one who commits his lucubrations to 
the press, can be sure that any one, except himself and 
his printer, shall know anything of the matter. Hence 
it becomes indispensably necessary to set on foot and 
establish some public and general record or memorial 
of Literature. Such are the literary Journals and Mag 
azines, which once more make known what it is which 
the Author has made known, and by means of which an 
Author is enabled to repeat, even after the lapse of half a 
year, what he has said already; and a similar opportunity 
is afforded to the reading public to learn what he has 
said, if they read the Journals. But it would not accord 
with the dignity of the authors of these publications, and 
would place them too far below other writers, if they only 
conveyed this intelligence of the thoughts of others; they 
must therefore, while reporting their information, also as 
sert their own independence by discussing these thoughts 
and announcing their own opinion thereon ; the leading 
maxims in this business being the following : that the 
Reviewer shall always find something to censure ; and 
that he knows everything better than the original Author. 
With such writings as commonly appear this is of 
little moment ; for it is no great misfortune that some 
thing which is bad at first should be made worse by 
the new treatment of the Reviewer. Writings which 
really deserve to see the light, whether in the depart 
ment of Science or that of Literature, are ever the 
expression of a Life wholly devoted to the Idea in some 
new and original form ; and until such writings have 
seized upon the Age, and penetrated it, and fashioned 
it after their qwn thought, no judgment of them is 


possible : and therefore it is obvious that no thorough 
and comprehensive Review of such works, even by the 
ablest critic, can be produced in a half or even in a 
whole year. It is of course understood that the ordi 
nary critics do not make this distinction, but unhesitat 
ingly seize upon all that comes under their notice without 
discrimination; and also that the same judgment is pro 
nounced upon truly original works, as upon the most 
thoroughly worthless productions. But even this fault is 
no misfortune except to themselves ; for nothing really 
good is lost in the stream of Time : how long soever 
it may lie defamed, misunderstood, and disregarded, the 
day at length arrives when it breaks its way through such 
hindrances and comes forth into light. But any one who 
should feel aggrieved by such perverted views of his 
writings, who should vex himself at such attacks, in 
stead of compassionately laughing at them, would only 
show thereby that his opponent had a certain amount 
of truth on his side, that his own individual personality 
had not yet wholly disappeared in the Idea, and in 
the Knowledge and Love of Truth ; that therefore this 
personal feeling may indeed have shown itself in his work, 
and that the more offensively, the purer the expression of 
the Idea with which it is associated : and such an one 
receives thereby the most urgent and impressive summons 
to retire within his own soul and to purify himself. Do 
they regard this matter falsely ? thinks he who is pure 
within himself: it is to their prejudice, not mine; and 
that they do regard it falsely, is not the fault of an evil 
will but of a feeble vision; they themselves would be glad 
indeed were it possible for them to come to the truth. 
Finally it is to be noticed as an advantage arising from 
the creation of the critic species, that he who has no great 
pleasure in reading, or has not much time to devote to that 
purpose, no longer requires to read books ; but by mere 
reference to the literary Journals finds the whole Literature 


of the Age brought within his grasp ; and in this way, 
indeed, it may be said that books are only printed in order 
that they may be reviewed; and there would no longer be 
any need for books, if Reviews could be fabricated without 

Such is the portraiture of the active section of this 
camp of Formal Knowledge ; namely, the Authors. After 
their image, the passive or receptive section, the body 
of Readers fashions itself, that it may become their 
exact counterpart. As the former write on, without rest 
or intermission; so do the latter read on, without rest 
or intermission, straining every nerve to keep their head 
above the flood of Literature, and, as they call it, to 
advance with the Age. Glad to have hurried through 
the old they eagerly grasp at the new, while the newest 
already makes its appearance ; and not a single moment 
remains for them ever to revert to the old. They can 
by no means stop themselves in this restless career in 
order to consider what they read ; for their business is 
pressing, and time is short : and so it is left wholly to 
chance what and how much of their reading may stick 
to them in this rapid transit, how it may influence 
them, and what spiritual form it may assume. 

This custom of reading for its own sake is specifically 
different from every other habit of mind; and, having some 
thing about it in the highest degree agreeable, it soon 
becomes an indispensable want to those who once indulge 
in it. Like other narcotic remedies, it places those who use 
it in the pleasant condition betwixt sleeping and waking, 
and lulls them into sweet self-forgetfulness without calling 
for the slightest exertion on their part. It has always ap 
peared to me to have the greatest resemblance to tobacco- 
smoking, and to be best illustrated by that habit. He who 
has once tasted the delights of this condition will desire 
continually to enjoy them, and will devote himself to 
nothing else : he now reads even without regard to the 



knowledge of Literature, or to advancing with his Age ; 
but with this view only, that he may read, and reading 
live ; and so represents in his person the character of 
the pure Reader. 

At this point Authorship and Readership both reach 
their end ; they disappear in themselves, the final result 
being its own extinction. To the pure Reader, as we 
have described him, there is no longer any instruction 
in his reading, nor does he derive any clear conceptions 
from it ; for any printed production forthwith lulls him 
into listless repose and placid self-forgetfulness. Besides, 
all other means of instruction are cut off from him. 
Hence verbal communication, by continuous discourse or 
scientific conversation, possesses infinite advantage over 
the mere dead letter. Writing was only practised by 
the Ancients in order to convey such spoken instruction 
to those who had not access to the speaker ; everything 
that was written had in the first place been verbally 
communicated, and was but a copy of the spoken dis 
course : only among the Moderns, and particularly since 
the invention of printing, has this method of intercourse 
claimed recognition for its own sake; whereby style, among 
other things, having lost the living corrective of speech, 
has fallen to ruin. But even for spoken communication, 
a Reader such as we have described is from the first 
wholly unfit. 

How could such an one, habitually given up to ab 
solute passivity, understand the bearings of a connected 
discourse, which demand an active effort of the mind to lay 
hold of and retain them ? How could he, were the dis 
course broken up into periods, as every good discourse 
ought to be, how could he combine the separate periods 
together, and review them as a whole? If he could 
have them put before his eyes in black and white, 
then, he thinks, his difficulty should be removed. But 
he deceives himself. Even in that case, he would not 


mentally comprehend the unity of the discourse, but 
would only, through his eye, embrace the extent of it 
included within his range of vision, hold this fast upon 
the paper and by means of the paper ; and then imagine 
that he had comprehended it. 

Arrived at this point, I said, the scientific effort of the 
Age has destroyed itself! and the Race stands in absolute 
impotence on the one side, and in absolute incapacity on 
the other, for farther cultivation : the Age can no longer 
read, and therefore all writing is in vain. Thus it is 
high time to begin something new, and, in my opinion, 
this something should be, on the one side, to return to 
the method of spoken discourse, and to cultivate pro 
ficiency in this Art ; and on the other, to acquire the 
requisite capacities for appreciating this form of com 

If reading is still to be practised, it should at least be in 
another way than is customary now. In order that I may 
follow up the repulsive description which I have had to 
bring before you to-day, with something more pleasing, 
allow me to say what mode of reading I hold to be the 
right one. 

Whatever ought to be read in print, is either a work 
of Science, or a product of Literature: whatever is neither 
of these, and is without relation to one or other of them, 
is much better unread, and might as well have remained 

In the first place, with respect to works of Science : 
The first object of reading them is to understand them, and 
to apprehend historically the true meaning of the Author. 
To do this, we must not passively resign ourselves to our 
Author, and suffer him to mould us as chance or fortune 
may direct; or accept at once whatever dicta he may choose 
to propound, and so depart, and get these by rote. But as 
the Experimentalist subjects Nature to his interrogatories, 
and compels her not to speak at random but to reply to 


the questions which he puts to her; so is the Author to be 
subjected to a skilful and well-considered experiment by 
the Reader. This experiment is made in the following way. 
After a cursory perusal of the whole book, with the view of 
obtaining beforehand a general conception of the Author s 
design, the Reader ought to turn to the first leading prin 
ciple, period, or paragraph, as the case may be. This is 
necessarily, even with respect to the purpose of the Au 
thor, only to a certain extent defined in other respects 
undefined ; were it already completely defined, then were 
the book at an end, and there were no need for the con 
tinuation, the only purpose of which is, that therein what 
still remains undefined, may gradually be brought to light. 
Only in so far as this principle is defined, is it intelligible ; 
in so far as it is undefined, it as yet remains unintelligible. 
These separate portions, the Intelligible and the Unintelli 
gible, the reader sets clearly before himself in the following 
way. The subject of which this Author treats is, in 
itself, and independently of the Author, definable in this 
way, and in this. The more completely the various 
possible modes of defining the conception are understood 
beforehand, the better are we prepared. Of these 
different ways of defining his subject, the Author in his 
first principle touches only this, and this ; and thus de 
fines his subject only in such and such respects, as 
distinguished from the other modes of defining it which 
are also possible. So far only is he intelligible to me. 
But he leaves his principle undefined in this, and this, 
and this respect ; how he may view it on these sides, I 
know not as yet. I stand fast in an intelligible position, 
surrounded by a distinctly recognised circle of what is 
as yet unintelligible. How the Author may think upon 
these points, provided he has not declared it at once, 
will be seen from the way in which he follows up the 
principle he has laid down; the use which he makes of his 
admitted propositions will reveal this. Let me read further 


until the Author more fully declare himself: by this new 
definition, a portion of the former indefiniteness certainly 
disappears ; the clear point is extended, the sphere of the 
Unintelligible is narrowed. Let me make this new ac 
quisition of the Intelligible thoroughly distinct to myself, 
and impress it on my mind, and read on until the Author 
declare himself anew ; and so on in the same way until 
the sphere of the Undefined and the Unintelligible has 
wholly disappeared in the general mass of light, and I can 
re-create for myself the whole system of the Author s 
thought in any order that may be desired, and from any 
selected point deduce all its other forms. And in order 
that he may strictly watch over himself during this ex 
amination of his Author, and also in order that what has 
once become clear and distinct may not again be lost, it 
would even be advisable that he should undertake this 
whole operation pen in hand, although it should be neces 
sary, as at first might well be the case, to devote twenty 
written sheets to a single printed one. Any lamentation 
over the loss of paper were here out of place ; only let 
him take care that this paper do not hastily find its way to 
the press under the name of a commentary ! This com 
mentary, as proceeding from the amount of culture which 
he has brought to the study of his Author, is still a com 
mentary for himself only : and every one who truly desires 
to understand the matter would require to practise the 
same operation upon his commentary. Let him rather, as is 
more becoming, leave others to perform upon the original 
Author the same operation for themselves which he himself 
has had to do. 

It is obvious that in this way a writer may often be 
much better understood by another than by himself, 
particularly when the Reader sets out from a clearer 
conception than his Author. Here he gets involved in 
his own reasoning, there he makes a false conclusion, 
elsewhere fitting utterance is denied him, and he writes 


down something wholly different from what he wishes 
to express ; what is that to me ? I know how he 
ought to have proceeded, and what he would have said, 
for I have penetrated his whole thought. These are 
the failings of human weakness, which, when united 
with true merit in the subject itself, no honourable mind 
will reprove. 

It is also clear, that by this mode of reading it may soon 
be discovered when the Author is not master of the 
Science of which he aspires to write, and is ignorant of 
the extent to which it has already been cultivated; or 
when he is only a bewildered dreamer. In both cases 
his book may be quietly laid aside : it will not be neces 
sary to read it further. 

And in this way, the first object, the understanding 
and historical recognition of the Author s meaning, is 
attained. Whether this meaning be consistent with 
Truth, to ascertain which is the second purpose of 
reading, will be very easily determined after such a 
searching study as we have described; if, indeed, a judg 
ment upon this latter point has not already been formed 
during the study itself. 

In the second place, with respect to the reading of a 
Literary work : The sole purpose of such reading is, that 
the Reader may partake of the inspiration, elevation, and 
culture of mind which the work may be designed to com 
municate. For this purpose, mere passive self-abandonment 
is all that is requisite; for it is not the business of every 
man to penetrate to the source of aesthetic pleasure, or 
even to trace its operations in individual cases. Art 
summons all men to the enjoyment, but only a few to 
the use, or even to the knowledge, of her secrets. But 
in order that a work of Art may even come into con 
tact with our minds, and we ourselves enter into com 
munion with it, it must first of all be understood; 
that is, we must thoroughly comprehend the purpose of 


the Artist, and what it is which he desires to communi 
cate to us by his work, and be able to reproduce this 
purpose, as the pervading spirit of the whole work, out of 
all its parts, and again to deduce these from the purpose 
which created them. Still, this is not the work itself, but 
only the prosaic part of it ; that only which, in the con 
templation of the work from this point of view, lays hold of 
and penetrates us with irresistible power, is the Truth of 
Art : but still we must first possess this introductory 
knowledge, this comprehension of the work in its organic 
unity, before we are capable of its enjoyment. This 
organic unity indeed, like all works of Genius, still 
remains infinite and inexhaustible, but it is no mean 
pleasure to have approached it, although only at a dis 
tance. We may return to our common occupations, and 
forget this glorious revelation ; but it will abide secretly 
in our souls, and gradually develop itself there unknown 
to us. After a time we will return to our work, and 
see it under another form ; and thus it shall never be 
come old to us, but with every new contemplation assume a 
new life before us. We shall no longer desire something 
new, for we shall have discovered the means of transforming 
even the oldest into fresh and living originality. 

What this organic unity of a work of Art, which is before 
all things to be understood and comprehended, really is, 
let no one ask to whom it is not already known, and whose 
own thoughts I have not either repeated, or at least given 
clearer utterance to, in what I have already said. With 
regard to the unity of a Scientific work, I could make my 
self quite clear to you, and I think that I have done so ; 
not so with respect to the unity of a work of Art. At all 
events, the unity of which I speak is not that unity of its 
plot, and coherence of its parts, and its probability, and 
psychological value, and moral instructiveness, which are 
prated of in the common theories, and by the common 
critics of Art : vain chatter of barbarians who wilfully 


belie the true feeling of Art in themselves, to other bar 
barians who belie it at second hand ! the unity of which I 
speak is another than this, and is best made known to 
those who have not yet attained to it by examples, and by 
actual analysis and comprehension of existing works of 
Art in the spirit which we have described. Would that 
a man could be found who would work out this high ad 
vantage for humanity, and thereby rekindle in young 
minds the almost extinguished sense of Art ! such an 
one, however, must not himself be young, but a thoroughly 
tried and mature man. Until this come to pass, others 
may quietly refrain from the reading and study of those 
existing products of Art which by reason of their infinite 
depth are unintelligible to them, and the enjoyment of 
which, since enjoyment presupposes an understanding of 
them, is also shut off from their participation. They 
will find it to far better account to content themselves 
with Artists of another class, who take the favourite 
tendencies, weaknesses, and amusements of the Age 
under their protection ; and so crowd together, within a 
brief season of enjoyment, what all men crave, and even 
actually experience, in life, although unfortunately not 
without frequent interruptions. And so it shall be in 
reality, henceforward as hitherto, whether we have ac 
corded it our sanction or not. 




THERE are two objections which may be anticipated to such 
descriptions as have been presented to you in my last lec 
ture, and which require consideration : First, that every 
thing we have adduced may indeed exist in Human Nature 
generally, but not in the constitution of any particular Age; 
and hence may chance to be found in all Times: Second, 
that the whole view is one-sided ; that we have only 
adduced whatever is defective in the Age, and set it in an 
unfavourable light, but have passed over in silence the good 
which is nevertheless to be found in it. The former objec 
tion may be best met by recalling to mind Ages in which it 
has been otherwise than we have described, and showing 
historically how, and by what causes, the present state of 
things has arisen. The latter objection cannot affect us, if 
we only keep in mind the nature and purpose of our 
present undertaking. We have asserted nothing whatever 
upon the ground of experience, but on the contrary, deduced the different elements of our description 
from principle alone. If our deduction has been correct 
and rigid, we have no occasion to inquire whether these 
things are so in present reality or not. Are they not so? 
then we do not live in the Third Age. The sufficient 


justification of our description that these phenomena 
constitute a real stage in the progress of Humanity, 
which our Race must of necessity pass through; this 
has not been denied. We must also keep in view the 
general remark made in an early portion of these lectures, 
that the elements of very different Ages may often be 
found coexistent in the same period of chronological 
time, and may intermingle or cross each other ; and in 
accordance with this remark, our case may be thus stated: 
We have not taken up empirically the literary condition 
of our own Time, as such ; but we have put together a 
philosophical picture of that of the Third Age: it was 
this which we had to make out, and not its opposite; 
and it was of it alone that we undertook to speak. If in 
the same period of Time there are found other elements, 
then these are either the remnants of a Past or the fore 
casts of a Future Age ; neither of which we are now 
called upon to notice. 

Nevertheless, to guard ourselves in every possible way 
against misconception, and particularly against that most 
hateful of all misconceptions, that we have denied every 
thing good which exists in our Age, and also in order 
to make a distinct and complete separation of whatever 
belongs to different Ages, it will be proper to show in 
the latter respect, how the Scientific world ought to be 
constituted. Both of these questions, the last which we 
have mentioned, as well as the first, we shall consider 
in this day s discourse. 

In the first place : we have to show that the state of 
literature has not always been such as we have described 
in our last lecture ; and to declare how it has now become 
so. Among the two classical nations of antiquity with 
which we are best acquainted, the Greeks and Romans, 
there was much less written and read than among our 
selves ; while, on the contrary, there was much more 
spoken, and vocal discourse was much more carefully 


cultivated. Almost all their writings were in the first 
place delivered in speech, and were thus only copies of 
spoken discourses for the use of those who could not 
themselves be present at their delivery; and from this 
circumstance arises, amongst other advantages, the great 
superiority of the Ancients over the Moderns in respect 
of style, since, among the latter, written productions claim 
a peculiar value for themselves, and, for the most part, 
want the corrective of living speech. Among the Ancients 
there existed no particular interest in spreading scientific 
culture among the people ; the culture in which they 
actually participated was chiefly accidental and more a 
culture of Art than of Science. 

Christianity appeared in the world and there arose an 
entirely new interest in general cultivation, for the sake 
of Religion to which all men were now called. There 
are in our opinion two very different forms of Chris 
tianity : the one contained in the Gospel of John, and 
the other in the writings of the Apostle Paul ; to which 
latter party the other Evangelists for the most part, and 
particularly Luke, belong. The Johannean Jesus knows 
no other God than the True God, in whom we all are, and 
live, and may be blessed, and out of whom there is only 
Death and Nothingness ; and he appeals, and rightly ap 
peals, in support of this Truth, not to reasoning, but to 
the inward practical sense of Truth in man, not even 
knowing any other proof than this inward testimony. 
If any man will do the will of Him who sent me, he 
shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God : such 
is his teaching. As to its historical aspect, his doctrine 
is to him as old as the creation, it is the first and primi 
tive Religion; Judaism, on the contrary, as a corruption 
of later times, he unconditionally and unsparingly re 
jects : Your father is Abraham ; mine is God, he says 
to the Jews ; Before Abraham was, I am ; Abraham 
rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad. 


This latter assertion, that Abraham saw Jesus day, 
refers without doubt to the occasion when Melchizedek, 
the Priest of THE MOST HIGH GOD, (which Most High 
God is expressly opposed, throughout the whole first 
chapter of the first book of Moses, to the subordinate and 
creating God Jehovah) when, I say, this Priest of the 
Most High God blessed Abraham, the servant of Jehovah, 
and took tithes from him ; from which latter circum 
stance the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews very 
fully and acutely proves the greater antiquity and superior 
rank of Christianity over Judaism, and expressly calls 
Jesus a Priest after the order of Melchizedek, and thus 
represents him as the restorer of the Religion of Mel 
chizedek; without doubt entirely in the sense of that 
peculiar revelation of Jesus which is given by John. In 
this Evangelist it remains wholly doubtful whether or 
not Jesus was of Jewish origin at all ; or if he were, 
what was his descent and parentage. Quite otherwise is 
it with Paul, by whom, even from the commencement of a 
Christian Church, John has been superseded. Paul, having 
become a Christian, would not admit that he had been 
in the wrong in having been once a Jew ; both systems 
must therefore be united, and fitly accommodate them 
selves to each other. This is brought about in the 
following way, as indeed it could not easily have been 
effected in any other : He sets out from the powerful, 
angry, and jealous God of Judaism ; the same whom we 
have already depicted as the God of the whole Ancient 
World. With this God, according to Paul, the Jews had 
made a Covenant; this was their advantage over the 
Heathen. During the existence of this Covenant they 
had but to keep the Law, and they were justified before 
God ; that is, they had no farther evil to fear from him. 
By the murder of Jesus, however, they had broken this 
Covenant; and since that time it no longer availed them to 
keep the Law. On the contrary, since the death of Jesus, 


a New Covenant came into operation, to which both Jews 
and Heathen were invited. According to this New Cove 
nant, both had only to acknowledge Jesus as the promised 
Messiah, and were thereby justified; as the Jews had been 
justified before the death of Jesus by the keeping of the 
Law. Christianity became a New Testament or Covenant, 
existing now for the first time, and abolishing the Old 
Testament or Covenant. Now, indeed, it was necessary 
that Jesus should become a Jewish Messiah, and be 
made a son of David, that the prophecies might be ful 
filled ; genealogies were discovered, and a history of his 
birth arid of his childhood, which, however, in both the 
shapes in which they appear in our canon, strikingly 
enough contradict each other. I do not say that in Paul, 
generally, true Christianity is not to be found: when he 
is not directly engaged with the great problem of his 
life, the intercalation of the two systems, he speaks 
so justly and so excellently, and knows the True God of 
Jesus so truly, that we seem to listen to another man 
altogether. But wherever he treats of his favourite 
theme, it is as we have stated it above. 

The immediate consequence of this Paulinean system; 
a system which undertook to remove the objections raised 
by the disputatious reasonings of the Jews ; (the first 
principle of which reasonings, i.e. that Judaism was once 
the True Religion, which is wholly denied by the Johan- 
iiean Jesus, is in the Paulinean system not only not 
denied but fully asserted :) I say, that the immediate and 
necessary consequence of such a system was that it should 
itself appeal to argumentative reasoning as its judge; 
and indeed, since Christianity is addressed to all men, 
that it should appeal to the reasoning of all men. And 
so did Paul in reality ; he reasoned and disputed with 
the pertinacity of a master ; and gloried in having taken 
captive i.e. convinced all minds. Thus the Under 
standing was already to him the highest Authority, and 


it necessarily assumed this position in a system of Chris 
tianity of which Paul was the author. But by this 
means the way was already prepared for the ruin of 
Christianity. You have challenged me to reason ; I, 
with your good leave, will reason for myself. You have 
indeed tacitly taken it for granted that my reasoning 
cannot issue in any result different from your own ; but 
should it fall out otherwise, and I should arrive at some 
wholly opposite conclusion, as will unquestionably happen 
should I proceed upon some other prevalent philosophy, 
then must I prefer my own conclusions to yours, and 
that too with your own approval, if you are consistent 
with your own teaching. Such liberty was very assiduously 
cultivated in the first centuries of the Christian Church, 
and arguments without end were carried on respecting 
dogmas which owed their origin wholly to the Paulinean 
scheme of Mediation ; and there arose in the One Church 
the greatest possible variety of opinions and disputes; 
all proceeding upon the maxim that the Understanding 
is the Supreme Authority : and this scheme of Chris 
tianity, I may once for all term Gnosticism. But in 
this way it was impossible to preserve the unity of the 
Church ; and since all parties were equally far from dis 
covering the true source of the evil in the original depar 
ture from the simplicity of Christianity for the purpose of 
gaining the good graces of Judaism, there was nothing 
left but a very heroic expedient ; this, namely, to forbid all 
farther thought, and to maintain that, by a special provi 
dence of God, the Truth was deposited in the Written 
Word and the existing Oral Traditions, and must be 
believed whether it was understood or not; and as any 
farther interpretation of those infallible sources of Truth 
which might be necessary rested with the Church at 
large, or with a majority of the voices of the Church, it 
followed that the statutes in which this interpretation 
was contained demanded a faith as unconditional as the 


original media themselves. Henceforward all invitations 
on the part of Christianity to individual thought and 
conviction were at an end : on the contrary, such thought 
became a forbidden enterprise, visited with all the punish 
ments of the Church ; so that he who could not abandon 
it must pursue it at his own peril. 

In this condition the matter remained for a long time, 
until the Reformation broke forth ; the Art of Printing, 
the most important instrument of this Reformation, having 
been previously discovered. This Reformation was as far 
removed as the original self-constituted Church from per 
ceiving the true ground of the degeneration of Christianity ; 
it remained at one with the Church in its rejection of 
Gnosticism, and in its demand for unconditional Faith 
even without Understanding ; only it directed this Faith 
towards another object; rejecting the Infallibility of Oral 
Tradition and of the Decrees of Councils, and taking its 
stand upon that of the Written Word. The inconsistency 
of this position, that the Authenticity of this Written 
Word itself rested upon Oral Tradition and upon the 
Infallibility of the Councils who collected and fixed our 
Canon, was overlooked. And thus, for the first time 
in the world, a Written Book was formally installed as 
the highest Standard of Truth and the only Teacher of 
the way of Salvation. 

Oat of this Book, thus elevated to be the sole criterion of 
Truth, the Reformers combated whatever flowed from the 
other two sources of belief; thus obviously reasoning in a 
circle, and ascribing to their opponents a principle which 
they disowned ; these asserting that without Oral Tradition 
and the Decrees of the Church it is impossible to understand 
the Scriptures of which they contain the only authentic 
interpretation. In this position of their cause, and its 
absolute untenableness for an educated public who were 
acquainted with the points at issue, they had no course 
remaining open to them except an appeal to the people. 


For them, therefore, the Bible had to be translated into the 
vulgar tongues, and thus placed in their own hands; and 
they had to be called upon to read and to judge for them 
selves, whether that which the Reformers found in the 
Scriptures is not clearly contained therein. These means 
could not but succeed. The people were flattered by 
the privilege conferred upon them, and eagerly availed 
themselves of it on every opportunity ; and by means of 
this principle, indeed, the Reformation would certainly 
have spread over the whole of Christian Europe, had 
not the authorities set themselves against it, and hit 
upon the only certain antidote to its progress ; i.e. to 
prevent the Protestant translations of the Bible, and the 
other writings of the Reformers, from falling into the 
hands of the people. 

It was only through this zeal for Christianity, as re 
presented by the Bible, which Protestantism called forth, 
that the printed letter acquired the high and universal 
value which it has possessed since the Reformation : it 
became the almost indispensable means of salvation ; and 
without being able to read, a man could no longer, pro 
perly speaking, be a Christian, or be tolerated in any 
Christian and Protestant State. Hence the prevailing 
notions on the subject of popular education ; hence the 
universality of reading and writing. We need not be 
surprised that the primary object, Christianity, was 
afterwards forgotten, and that what was at first only the 
means became in itself the end : this is the common fate 
of all human arrangements after they have endured for 
any length of time. 

This abandonment of the end for the means was more 
particularly promoted by a circumstance which, for other 
reasons, we cannot leave untouched. The Old Church, 
wherever she was enabled to maintain herself against 
the first assaults of the Reformation, soon discovered new 
means of defence, whereby she was relieved from all 


dread of the new power ; and this the more easily that 
Protestantism itself placed these means in her hands. 
There soon arose, namely, in the bosom of the latter, a 
new Gnostiscism ; bearing indeed the form of Protestan 
tism and taking its stand on the Bible, but, like the old 
Gnostiscism, maintaining the principle that the Bible 
must be interpreted by Reason ; that is, by such Reason 
as these Gnostics themselves possessed ; and they were 
just so far reasonable as the worst of all philosophical 
systems, that of Locke, enabled them to be. They did 
no other service than combating some of the Paulinean 
notions; that of vicarious satisfaction, saving faith in this 
satisfaction, &c. ; leaving untouched the great leading 
error of an arbitrary God, now making Covenants, and now 
abolishing them, according to time and circumstances. By 
this means Protestantism lost almost every feature of 
Positive Religion, and the followers of the old faith were 
enabled, aptly enough, to represent it as absolute In 
fidelity. Thus securely protected against its assailants, 
the Church had nothing more to fear from Authorship 
and its attendant tribe of Readers ; and these could now 
propagate their opinions out of Protestant into Catholic 
States under the name of Independent Philosophy. 

Thus much it was necessary for me to say in order to re 
solve the question with which we set out, as to the origin 
of the high value which is now set upon the printed letter. 
In this inquiry, I have had to touch upon matters which 
possess great value for many who associate them with what 
alone is possessed of absolute value with Religion. I 
have spoken of Catholicism and Protestantism, so that 
it may be seen that I hold them both to be in error in 
the most important matter at issue ; and I would not 
willingly leave this matter without, at least, declaring 
my own view of it. 

In my opinion, both parties stand on one common ground 
which is wholly untenable, the Paulinean theory; which, 



in order to give validity to Judaism, even for a limited time, 
had necessarily to proceed upon the conception of an arbi 
trary God; and both parties being completely at one as to 
the truth of this theory, and not harbouring the slightest 
doubt regarding it, dispute only concerning the grounds 
upon which the Paulinean scheme is to be maintained. 
Thus peace and unity are no more to be thought of; 
nay, it were far from desirable that a peace should be 
concluded in favour of either side. Peace, however, 
would forthwith be the result, were mankind to throw 
aside this theory altogether, and return to Christianity 
in its original form as it exists in the Gospel of John. 
There no proof is recognised but the Inward Testimony, 
the appeal to man s own sense of Truth, and to his 
spiritual Nature. Who Jesus himself, in his mere person 
ality, was or was riot, is of importance only to the follower of 
Paul, who would make him the abrogator of an Old Cove 
nant with God, and the mediator of a New one in the same 
name, for which business it was of essential importance that 
he should possess a significant descent. The true Christian 
knows no Covenant or Mediation with God, but only the 
Old, Eternal, and Unchangeable Relation, that in Him we 
live, and move, and have our being ; and he asks not who 
has said this, but only what has been said; even the book 
wherein this may be written is nothing to him as a proof, 
but only as a means of culture ; lie bears the proof in his 
own breast. This is my view of the matter, which does not 
seem to contain anythingvery dangerous, and does not over 
step the limits of the freedom of philosophical inquiry into 
religious topics recognised among Protestants; and I have 
communicated it to you in order that you may test it by 
your own knowledge of Religion and its history, and may 
try whether by means of it, light, order, and connexion are 
introduced into the whole ; but I have no wish to invite 
the Theologian to a discussion of it. Educated myself in 
the schools of the Theologians, I am well acquainted with 


their weapons, and I know that upon their own ground 
they are invincible ; but I also know my own theory, 
which I have now communicated to you, too well not 
to perceive that it altogether supersedes the whole pre 
sent Theology, with all its pretensions ; and that whatever 
is valuable in the inquiries of these men, has reference 
only to the departments of historical and philological 
learning, without possessing any influence upon Religion 
or Happiness ; and thus I cannot join issue with the 
Theologian who desires to remain a Theologian rather 
than a Teacher of the People. 

So much for our first business, to exhibit historically 
the way in which that state of Literature and Science, 
already described as characteristic of the Third Age, has 
actually arisen. Now to our second task, to show how 
this Literary and Scientific world ought to be constituted. 
In the first place : All the existing relations of actual 
life, which can only be superseded in and by the Age of 
the perfect Art of Reason, demand that only a few shall 
devote their lives to Science, and by far the majority to 
other pursuits ; that thus the distinction between the 
Scholar, or let us rather say between the Learned, and 
the Unlearned, must still subsist for a long period. Both 
have yet to raise themselves to the real substance of Know 
ledge, to the true creative Reason; and the formalism of 
mere unreasoning Conception must be wholly got rid of. 
The people, in particular, must be raised to Pure Christianity, 
such as we have described it above, as the only medium 
through which at first Ideas can be communicated to them. 
In this respect both parties, Learned as well as Unlearned, 
are in the same position. They are separated in the 
following way : the Learned find Reason itself, and all 
its modifications, in a system of connected and consecutive 
Thought ; to them, the Universe of Reason, as we have 
elsewhere expressed it, reveals itself in pure Thought as 
such. This knowledge they then communicate to the 


Unlearned, unaccompanied however by the strict proof of 
which it is susceptible in the system of pure Thought, to 
adduce which would render the communication itself 
Learned and Scholastic ; which knowledge is then au 
thenticated immediately by the Unlearned themselves 
through their own natural sense of Truth ; just as we 
have proceeded in these lectures which we have announced 
as popular discourses. I myself have found what has 
been here taught in a consecutive system of Thought, 
but I have not communicated it to you in this shape. 
In one of our first lectures I requested you to inquire 
whether you could withhold your approval from such a 
way of thinking as I there described, and if you should 
find it impossible to do so, I asked you whether, within 
your own selves, Reason does not in this way declare in 
favour of such a mode of Thought : in the two last 
lectures I have presented the opposite view to you in 
such a light that its falsehood and perversion must have 
been immediately evident ; and if I made myself intelli 
gible to you it must have excited, at least, inward 
amusement. Other proofs I have not here adduced. I 
teach the same things in my scientific philosophical 
lectures ; but there I accompany my teachings with proofs 
of another description. Further, these lectures have 
been addressed, as popular-philosophical discourses, to 
a cultivated audience, and therefore I have clothed them in 
cultivated language, and in that garb of metaphor which 
belongs to it. I might have taught the same things to the 
people, from the pulpit, in the character of a preacher, 
and then it would have been necessary to make use of 
Bible language : for example, what I have here termed 
the Life in the Idea, should in that case have been 
named Resignation to the Will of God ; or Devotion to 
the Will of God, &c. This popular communication of 
knowledge by the Learned to the Unlearned, can only 
be effected in discourses, or by means of the press if 


those to whom it is addressed possess at least the art of 

Secondly : In the cultivation of the whole domain of 
Science, and therefore in the constitution of the Literary 
Republic, plan, order, and system are requisite. From 
Reason as Knowledge, or the Absolute Philosophy, the 
whole domain of Science may be completely surveyed, and 
the office of each individual strictly defined. Every one 
who lays claim to the name of a Scholar must necessarily 
be in possession of this pure Reason ; otherwise, how 
ever well-informed he may think himself in some particular 
department, if he be ignorant of the ultimate ground 
of all Science, upon which his own Science depends, then 
of a surety he cannot understand even his own Science in 
its ultimate foundations, and indeed has not yet thoroughly 
penetrated into its significance. Every one can in this way 
distinctly see when there is something yet awanting in the 
circle of Science, and what it is which is awanting ; and 
can thus select some particular department as the field of 
his own exertion. He will not think of completing anew 
what has been already completed. 

All Knowledge which is strictly a priori may be com 
pleted and the inquiry closed ; and it will be brought to 
this conclusion so soon as the Literary Republic shall 
carry on its labours systematically. Empircism only is 
infinite; as well in its fixed department, i.e. Nature, in 
Physics, as in its changing department, i.e. the varying 
phenomena of the Human Race, in History. The first, 
Physics, when all its a priori elements have been dis 
tinguished, completed and perfected in their several 
forms by the higher Reason, will be limited to Experi 
ment; and receive from Reason the Art of rightly com 
prehending the significance of Experiment, and the 
knowledge how Nature is to be again interrogated. The 
second, History, will by the same Reason he relieved of 
the myths respecting the origin of the Human Race 


which properly belong to Metaphysics; and will receive 
instead a distinct conception of the true objects of his 
torical inquiry, and what belongs to them ; with a Logic 
of historical Truth : and thus, even in this inexhaus 
tible province, we shall have a sure progress according 
to rule instead of an uncertain groping in the dark. 

As the substance of all Knowledge has its fixed law, so 
both its scientific and popular expression have their settled 
rules. Have these been transgressed ? then the error may 
perhaps be discovered by some one else, and corrected in a 
new work : have they not been transgressed, or am I unable 
to make any improvement on that which already exists ? 
why should I change it for the mere sake of change ? In 
every Science let the best scientific and the best popular 
works remain the only ones, until something really 
better appear to take their place ; then let the former 
be altogether laid aside, and the latter alone remain. 
True, the unlearned public is a progressive body ; for 
its members are presumed to advance in the ranks of 
culture by means of the fit teaching of the Learned, 
and what they already know they do not need to be 
taught again. It is thus quite conceivable that a popu 
lar work, which is well suited to the period of its 
appearance, may afterwards, when the Time has changed, 
become no longer adequate to its purpose, and must be 
replaced by another ; but this progress will certainly not 
be so rapid that the people shall need to be supplied 
with something new every half-year. 

From Reason as Knowledge, I have said above, the 
whole domain of Science may be surveyed. Every Scholar 
must be in possession of this Knowledge, were it only that he 
may thereby be able at all times to understand the actual 
state of the scientific world, and thus to know at what point 
his labour may be most advantageously applied. There is 
no reason why this actual condition of the scientific world 
should not be chronicled in a continuous work devoted to 


that purpose, and a survey of it recorded there, partly for 
the use of cotemporaries, and partly for future history. 
Something similar to this was said in our description 
of the Third Age as the function of the Literary Jour 
nals and Magazines. Thus if we describe how such a 
Review would be executed in the Age of Reason as 
Knowledge, we shall at the same time declare how a 
Literary Journal ought to be conducted, if such Journals 
must exist; and from the contrast, it may also become 
obvious why such Journals, in their common form, are 
good for nothing, and can be good for nothing. To 
complete the antithesis between our last lecture and our 
present one, we must now proceed to this description. 

The scientific position of every point of Time must ma 
nifest itself according to the Idea which we have already 
announced ; and the supposition is that it will so manifest 
itself in the works of the Time. These lie open to every 
eye ; and all who are interested in the question which we 
have proposed can answer it, without our aid, by re 
ference to the same source from which we, without their 
help, have answered it. We see not to what end our 
assistance is needful here. If we would make our aid 
necessary, we must do something which others either can 
not do at all, or cannot do without some specific labour 
of which we can relieve them. We cannot again inform 
the Reader of what the Author himself has said ; for the 
Author has already said this for himself, and the Reader 
may satisfactorily learn it from him. What we must de 
clare for him, is precisely that which the Author has not 
said, but from which he has drawn everything which he 
has said; we must lay bare what the Author himself 
really is, perhaps unconsciously to himself, and how all 
which he has said has become to him such as it is; 
we must extract the spirit from his letter. If this 
spirit in the individual be also the spirit of the Time, 
and if we have made it manifest in any one instance 


belonging to the Time, and possibly in that instance in 
which it is most clearly visible, then I do not see why we 
should repeat the same thing with reference to others, in 
whom there may indeed be some accidental and outward 
difference, but internally an exact similitude ; and thus 
become mere copyists of ourselves. The question is not 
concerning the position of Sempronius, or Caius, or Titus, 
but concerning the position of the Age ; if we have al 
ready made this manifest by the example of Sempronius, 
then we have, at most, to add the remark that Caius and 
Titus are examples of the same kind; so that no one may 
expect that they should be separately considered. Should 
these possess, in addition to the essential and prevailing 
spirit of the Age, such and such subsidiary and character 
istic tendencies, then we must thoroughly investigate these 
tendencies, and exhibit each of them clearly by means of 
its most remarkable example : as for the other instances 
belonging to the same class, we may, at most, apply to 
them the remark already suggested. 

It is not otherwise with the estimate of the Age in refer 
ence to Art; in which department we here confine ourselves 
to Literature. The measure of excellence is the elevated 
purity, the ethereal clearness, the serene calmness, un 
troubled by individual imperfection or by any relation 
which does not belong to the domain of pure Art, which the 
work displays. Have we set these forth as they exist in the 
masterworks of the Age; why need we concern ourselves 
with the efforts of mere aspirants? or even with the studies 
of the master ? The latter we employ, in order thereby the 
better to penetrate and understand the individuality of the 
Artist, which, as such, is never a sensuous, but always 
an ideal individuality, and by means of this knowledge 
of his individuality to attain a more thorough compre 
hension of his work. In short, such a Review must be 
nothing else, and desire to be nothing else, than a record 
of the essential spirit of Science and of Art ; whatever 


cannot be regarded as a variation and farther embodi 
ment of this spirit, should have no place in it, and 
should not enter within the circle of its observation. 
It matters not that each day in the calendar may not 
send forth its printed sheet of such a Review ; nor 
every month, nor even perhaps every half-year, its vol 
ume ; in that case paper has been saved and the Reader 
has been spared much useless labour. Does no contin 
uation appear? it is a sign that nothing new has 
occurred in the intellectual world, but that everything 
moves in its old round : has something new occurred ? 
the record will not be wanting to announce it. 

With regard to Art alone an exception to the strictness 
of this rule may be permitted. Humanity is as yet much 
further removed from true Knowledge in Art than in 
Science, and there will be needed a much longer course 
of preparation before it can arrive at the former, than 
may be required in its progress towards the latter. In 
this respect, even feeble efforts employed on the inter 
pretation of imperfect works of Art may be welcomed, 
not indeed as portions of our true spiritual record, 
which can only describe the real, living movement of 
Humanity ; but only as popular aids, that thereby the 
general public may become more conversant with the 
art of understanding a work ; and if the common 
Journals of Criticism only sometimes made such attempts 
they might be entitled to our thanks. But with reference 
to Science no such exception to the strictness of the rule 
can be admitted : for beginners in this department there 
are Schools and Universities in existence. 

( 123 ) 



THE Third Age has now been described in its fundamental 
character, as an Age lohich accepts nothing but ivhat it 
understands ; and its leading conception in this process of 
understanding has been sufficiently set forth as that of mere 
sensuous Experience. From this fundamental principle of 
the Age we have deduced the distinction between a Learned 
and an Unlearned Class, and the constitution of these two 
classes, both in themselves and in their relation to each 
other. In addition to this we have shown historically, in 
our last lecture, that this relation has not always existed 
as at present ; how and in what way it has arisen and 
become as it now is ; and also how this relation must 
exist in the following Age, that of Reason as Know 

Now we have formerly remarked, in our general survey 
of this subject, that such an Age of mere naked Experience 
and of empty Formal Knowledge does by its very nature stir 
up opposition, and bears within its own breast the germs 
of a reaction against itself. Let us take up this remark 
in the lecture of to-day, and pursue it somewhat further. 
It cannot be but that single individuals, either because 
they actually feel the dreary barrenness and emptiness of 
the results of such a principle, or else moved by the 



desire of bringing forward something wholly new, which 
desire itself we have already discovered among the charac 
teristics of this Epoch, precisely inverting the principle 
of the Age, and representing its pretension to understand 
all things as its bane and the source of all its error, 
should now, on the contrary, set up the Incomprehensible as 
such, and on account of its incomprehensibility, as their 
own principle, as all of which man stands in need, the 
true source of all healing and sanctification. Even this 
phenomenon, as I said before, although apparently quite 
opposed to the Third Age, does nevertheless belong to 
the necessary phenomena of this Age, and is not to be 
overlooked in a complete delineation of it. 

In the first place, the fact that the supporters of the 
maxim, that we must be able to understand everything 
which ice ought to admit as true, do nevertheless con 
stantly accept many things which neither they nor their 
opponents understand, is a manifest contradiction of the 
maxim itself; which contradiction obviously cannot take 
place, or be theoretically propounded until the maxim itself 
be announced, and indeed only arises in the polemical dis 
cussion of the maxim ; a contradiction, however, which 
must necessarily make its appearance so soon as this maxim 
has been prevalent for any length of time, has received 
mature consideration, and has been brought out in clear 
and unequivocal distinctness. Thus the announcement of 
this principle of the Incomprehensible is neither the begin 
ning nor yet any essential element of the new Age which 
is to arise out of the Third, namely, the Age of Reason 
as Knowledge ; for it finds no fault with the maxim of 
absolute Intelligibility, but rather recognises it as its own; 
finding fault only with the mischievous and worthless 
notion which is now made the standard of this Intelligi 
bility, and the measure of all authentic Truth; while as to 
Intelligibility itself, the Age of Reason as Knowledge lays 
it down as a fundamental principle, that everything, even 


the Unknown itself, as the limit of the Known, and as the 
only possible pledge that the domain of the Known is ex 
hausted, must be comprehended ; and that in all Times, 
and as the only sufficient substratum of the Time, there 
must be a then Unknown, known only as the Unknown ; 
but at no Time an absolute Incomprehensible. This prin 
ciple of absolute Incomprehensibility is thus much more 
directly opposed to Knowledge, than even the principle 
of the Intelligibility of all things through the concep 
tions of mere sensuous Experience. Finally, this prin 
ciple of Incomprehensibility, as such, is not a remnant 
of any former Age, as is obvious from what we have 
already said on this point. The absolute Incomprehen 
sible of Heathen and Jewish antiquity, the arbitrary 
God, never to be understood but always to be feared, 
with whom man could only by good fortune come to 
terms, far from having been sought out by these Ages, 
was imposed upon them by necessity, and in opposition to 
their own will, and they would gladly have been delivered 
from this conception had that been possible. The In 
comprehensible of the Christian Church, again, was 
accepted as true, not on account of its being incom 
prehensible, but because it existed in the Written Word 
and in the Traditions and Doctrines of the Church, 
although it had accidentally turned out to be incom 
prehensible. The maxim of which we now speak, on 
the contrary, sets up the Incomprehensible as the 
Highest, in its own character of incomprehensibility, and 
even on account of its incomprehensibility ; arid it is 
thus a wholly new and unprecedented phenomenon 
peculiar to the Third Age. 

When the matter does not end in this mere acceptance 
of the Incomprehensible generally, so that it might be 
left to each man to determine for himself what is incom 
prehensible to him ; but when besides this, as might be 
expected from the dogmatic Spirit of the Age, a specific 


and defined formula of the Incomprehensible is set forth 
and proposed for our acceptance ; the question presents 
itself, How does this phenomenon arise ? Not from the 
elder superstition, for this has now passed away so far as 
the cultivated classes are concerned, and its residue is 
only to be found in Theology ; nor from Theology, for 
this is, as we have already seen, something altogether 
different. It is through insight into the emptiness of the 
previous system, and thus by means of reasoning, that 
this new system has arisen ; it must therefore establish 
its Incomprehensible by means of reasoning and free 
thought, which here, however, assume the forms of In 
vention and Imagination: Hence the founders and 
representatives of this system will bear the name of 

The production of an Unknown and Incomprehensible, 
by means of unrestrained Imagination, has always been 
named Mysticism; we shall therefore comprehend this 
new system in its essential nature, if we set forth dis 
tinctly what Mysticism is, and wherein it consists. 

Mysticism has this in common^with true Reason as 
Knowledge ; it does not recognise the conceptions of -mere 
sensuous Experience as the Highest, but strives to raise 
itself above all Experience; and since there is nothing 
beyond the domain of Experience but the world of Pure 
Thought, it builds up a Universe for itself from Pure 
Thought alone, as we have already said of Reason as 
Knowledge. The defenders of Experience as the only 
source of truth thus hit the mark as closely as they pos 
sibly can, and more closely perhaps than they themselves 
are aware of, when they denominate him a Mystic who, 
on whatever ground, denies the exclusive validity which 
they claim for Experience; for this Mysticism, which 
they can only apprehend by an effort of fancy, and from 
which they have so carefully guarded themselves before 
hand by strict adherence to Experience, this Mysticism, 


I say, does indeed raise itself above Experience ; whilst 
the other way of rising above Experience, namely, by 
Knowledge, has never presented itself to them in its 
true character, and on this side they have had, as yet, no 
temptations to overcome. 

In this firm reliance on the world of Thought, as the 
Highest and most excellent, Reason as Knowledge and 
Mysticism are completely at one. 

The distinction between them depends solely upon the 
nature of the thought from which they respectively pro 
ceed. The fundamental thought of Reason as Knowledge 
which because it is a fundamental thought, is abso 
lutely one and complete in itself is, in the view of Reason, 
thoroughly clear and distinct ; and from it Reason per 
ceives, in the same unchangeable clearness, the immediate 
procession of all the multiplicity of particular thoughts; 
and, since things can only exist in thought, of the multi 
plicity of all particular things, making them, in this 
procession, the subject of immediate apprehension ; this 
even to the limits of all clearness ; and, as these limits 
must likewise be conceived of as necessary limits, even to 
the boundaries of the Unknown. Further, this thought 
does not spontaneously present itself to Reason, but must 
be pursued with labour, assiduity, and care ; for Reason 
must never rest satisfied with anything which is, as yet, 
imperfectly understood, but must continually ascend to a 
higher principle of interpretation, and again to a higher, 
until at last there shall be but one pure mass of Light. 
So it is with the Thought of Reason. But the thoughts 
from which Mysticism may arise, for these are very 
different in the different individuals who entertain them, 
and are even very variable in one and the same individual, 
these thoughts can never be clearly referred to any fun 
damental principle. On this account they are only to a 
certain extent clear even in themselves ; and, so far as 
regards their connexion with each other, they are abso- 


lutely unintelligible. On this account, too, these thoughts 
can never be proved, nor attain any greater degree of 
clearness than that which they already possess ; but they 
may be postulated, or, should the language of true Rea 
son be already current, the reader or hearer may be direc 
ted to the Intellectual Intuition ; which latter, however, 
has a totally different meaning in Reason from that which 
it bears in Mysticism. For the same reason, no account 
can be given of the method in which these thoughts have 
been discovered, because, in reality, they have not been 
discovered by means of a systematic ascent to a higher 
principle, like the primitive thoughts of Reason, but are, 
in truth, the mere conceits of Chance. 

And this Chance, what is it at bottom ? Although 
those who are in its service can never explain it, yet can 
not we explain it ? It is a blind thinking-power, which, 
like all other blind powers, is, in the final analysis, only a 
force of Nature from the control of which free thought sets 
us at liberty; depending, like all other natural conditions, 
upon the state of health, the temperament, the mode of 
life, the studies, &c. of the individual ; so that these 
Mystics, with their fascinating philosophy, notwithstanding 
their boast of having raised themselves above Nature, and 
their profound contempt for all Empiricism, are them 
selves but a somewhat unusual empirical phenomenon, 
without having the least suspicion of the real state of the 

The remark that the principles of Mysticism are mere 
accidental conceits, imposes upon me the duty of distin 
guishing it from another, and, in some respects, similar 
process of thought; and I embrace this opportunity of 
more strictly defining it. In the domain of Physics, 
namely, not only the most important experiments, but 
even the most searching and comprehensive theories are 
often the results of chance, or it may be said, of mere 
conjecture ; and so must it be, until Reason be sufficiently 


extended and spread abroad, and have fulfilled the duty 
which it owes to Physics, as strictly defined in our last 
lecture. But the true Physical Inquirer always proceeds 
beyond the Phenomena, seeking only the Law in the Unity 
of which the Phenomena may be comprehended ; and as 
soon as he has reached the primitive Thought, returning 
again to the Phenomena in order to test the Thought by its 
application to them ; undoubtedly with the firm conviction 
that the validity of the Thought can only be established 
by its sufficiency for the explanation of the Phenomena, 
and with the determination to throw it aside should it 
not be verified in this way. It is verified; and he is 
thereby satisfied that his conception has been no arbitrary 
conceit, but a true Thought revealed by Nature herself; 
and thus his inspiration is not Mysticism but is to 
be named Genius. Quite otherwise is it with the Mystic : 
he neither proceeds outwards from Empiricism, nor 
yet does he recognise Empiricism as the judge of his 
fancies, but he demands that Nature should regulate 
herself by his thoughts; in which he should be per 
fectly justified, had he only got hold of the right Thoughts, 
and if he knew how far this a priori conception of Nature 
can go, at what point it comes to an end, and where 
Experiment alone can decide. 

These fancies of the Mystic, I have said, are neither clear 
in themselves, nor are they proved, or even capable of theo 
retical proof which indeed is renounced in the avowal of 
Incomprehensibility ; but yet they may be true, and may 
therefore be confirmed by our natural sense of Truth, 
provided they fall within its sphere. How is it then, 
that they are believed in by their original authors 
themselves ? I am bound to solve this question before 
we proceed further. 

These fancies are, at bottom, as we have shown above, 
the products of a blind natural thinking-power; which 
power must necessarily manifest itself in these particular 


circumstances and in these particular individuals exactly as 
it does manifest itself; must, I say, unless the individual 
were to elevate himself above the mere natural thinkino-- 


power to free and clear Thought ; and so foreclose this 
necessity. If this do not happen, then the necessary con 
sequence is as follows : every blind power of Nature is 
constantly active, although invisibly and unconsciously 
to man ; it is therefore to be anticipated that this think 
ing-power, as the essential nature of this individual, 
should have already manifested itself in many shapes 
within him, and thus from time to time have passed 
through his mind without its principle being discovered, 
or any distinct resolution being taken as to its adoption. 
Thus he goes on passively, or listening attentively to the 
voice of Nature thinking within him; till at last the 
true centre-thought of the whole reveals itself; and he 
is not a little astonished to find unity, light, connexion, 
and confirmation spread over all his previous fancies; 
never imagining for a moment that these earlier fancies 
were but shapes or branches of that ever-active thought 
which has now come forth into light, with which they 
must therefore unquestionably harmonize. He satisfies 
himself of the truth of the whole by its sufficiency to afford 
an explanation of all the parts ; for he does not know that 
they are only parts of this whole, and have only an existence 
"by means of the whole. He accepts Imagination as Truth 
because it coincides with so many earlier Imaginations, 
which, without any suspicion on his part, have come to 
him from the same source. 

Since this imagination of the Mystic is but a thinking- 
power of Nature, it returns upon Nature, attaches itself to 
her soil, and attempts to exercise an activity there ; in one 
word, Mysticism is, and always must be, a Philosophy of 
Nature ( Natur-Philosophie. ) It is necessary that we 
should carefully consider these latter remarks, in order 
strictly to distinguish between Mysticism and something 


else which is often inconsiderately mistaken for it. 
Either the mere sensuous instinct, the desire of personal 
preservation arid of physical well-being, is the only im 
pulse to the thoughts as well as to the actions of men, 
and then Thought is only the servant of Desire, and 
only exists for the purpose of observing and choosing 
the means of its satisfaction ; or, Thought is living and 
active in itself and by its own proper power. Upon 
the first supposition is founded the whole wisdom of the 
Third Age, which we have already sufficiently described, 
and need not further refer to at present. On the 
second supposition there are, on the other hand, two, or it 
may be, three cases. Namely, this self-existent and active 
Thought is either the mere Sensuous Individuality of Man 
clothing itself in the form of Thought, and is thus still a 
mere sensuous desire, only disguised, and therefore not re 
cognised as such, and then it is Mysticism : or, it is 
Pure Thought flowing forth from itself without any de 
pendence on Sense, not recognising individual persons, 
but always comprehending the Race, as we have already 
sufficiently described it in our second, third, and fourth 
lectures; i.e. the Idea. Is it the Idea which is present? 
then again, as we have already said, it may manifest 
itself in two different ways : either, in one of its primi 
tive forms which we previously indicated ; and in this 
case it struggles irresistibly onward to direct outward 
activity, streams forth in the personal life of the man, 
extinguishing all his sensuous impulses and desires ; and 
then he is an Artist, Hero, Man of Science, or Religious 
Man ; or, the same Pure Thought may manifest itself 
in its absolute unity ; and then it is easily recognisable as 
the one, perfectly clear, and undisturbed thought of the 
Higher Reason, which in itself impels to no activity in 
the World of Sense, but only to free activity in the World 
of Pure Thought; or, in other words, is true and genuine 
Speculation. Mysticism will not of itself act in direct 


opposition to the Life in the Idea ; bat that it may act 
in conformity with it, requires a specific determination 
of the will moved thereto by desire. Thus Mysticism is 
still Speculation ; it does not, however, comprehend the 
Race as such but only Individuality, because it proceeds 
only from the Individual and refers only to that whereon 
the life of the Individual depends, namely, to Physical 
Nature, and it is thus necessarily Speculation founded 
on Nature (Natur-Spekulation) Hence the Life in the 
Idea, which the uneducated man presumes to call Mys 
ticism, is in reality very widely and distinctly separated 
from Mysticism. We have already sufficiently distinguished 
Mysticism from true and genuine Speculation ; but in 
order that we may be able to distinguish this true and 
genuine Speculation from its opposite, that of the 
Mystic, with reference to the Philosophy of Nature (Natur~ 
Philosophic), we ought to be already in possession of 
the former, and this is not the business of the unlearned 
public. Upon this matter, and therefore upon the 
ultimate principles of Nature, no true Scholar will 
think of communicating with the general public; the 
Speculative theory of Nature presupposes scientific culture, 
and can only be comprehended by the scientific intellect ; 
and the general and unlearned public never stands in 
need of it. But with respect to that whereon the true 
Scholar can and ought to communicate with the general 
public, with respect to Ideas, there is an infallible test 
whereby this public may determine for itself whether any 
doctrine which is presented to it is, or is not, mere 
Mysticism. Let it be asked, Has this doctrine a direct 
and immediate bearing on action, or does it rest on a 
fixed and immovable constitution of things ? Thus, 
for example, the question which I put to you at the 
beginning of these lectures, and upon the assumed 
answer to which, the whole of my subsequent discourses 
have proceeded as their true principle : this question, 


whether you could refrain from approving, respecting, 
and admiring a Life wholly devoted to the Idea ? this 
question refers exclusively to an action, and to your 
judgment upon that action ; and therefore, while we were 
elevated above the world of mere sensuous Experience, 
it is evident that there was nevertheless nothing of 
Mysticism in our inquiries. To adduce a still more marked 
example: The Doctrine of a Perfect God; in whose 
nature nothing arbitrary or changeable can have a place; 
in whose Highest Being we all live, and in this Life 
may and ought at all times to be blessed ; this Doc 
trine, which ignorant men think they have sufficiently 
demolished when they have proclaimed it to be Mys 
ticism, is bv no means Mysticism, for it has an immediate 
reference to human action, and indeed to the inmost 
spirit which ought to inspire and guide all our actions. 
It can only become Mysticism when it is associated 
with the pretext that the insight into this truth proceeds 
from a certain inward and mysterious light, which is 
not accessible to all men, but is bestowed only upon a few 
favourites chosen from among the rest : in which pretext 
the real Mysticism consists, for it betrays a self-complacent 
assumption of personal merit, and a pride in mere sensuous 
Individuality. Thus Mysticism, besides the essential and 
inward criterion which can only be thoroughly discovered 
by true Speculation, has also an outward mark by which it 
may be recognised ; this, namely, that it is never a 
Moral or Religious Philosophy, to both of which it is, 
in its true character, wholly antagonistic ; (what it calls 
Religion is only a deification of Nature) but it is always 
a mere Philosophy of Nature ; that is, it strives to 
discover, or believes that it has discovered, certain mys 
terious and hitherto inconceivable properties in the 
principles of Nature, by the employment of which it 
endeavours to produce effects surpassing the ordinary 
course of things. Such, I say, is Mysticism, neces- 


sarily such by reason of its vital principle ; and such it 
has always been in reality. Let us not be deceived by 
the frequent promises it has held forth of introducing us 
to the secrets of the Spirit- World, and revealing to us the 
charm whereby we may spell-bind and enthral Angel and 
Archangel, or even God himself; the purpose of all this 
has been only to employ such knowledge for the production 
of results in the world of sense ; and these spiritual exist 
ences have therefore never been regarded as such, but only 
as powers of Nature. The end has always been to discover 
some charm, some magical spell. If we consider the 
matter strictly, as I do here, and do it advisedly, in 
order by this example, at least, to make myself perfectly 
clear and intelligible; if, I say, we consider the matter 
strictly, the system of Religion which was described in 
our last lecture, which proceeds upon the conception of 
an Arbitrary God, and admits an interposition between 
Him and man, and believes that, through the efficacy 
of a ratified Covenant, either by observation of certain 
"arbitrary, and, so far as their purpose is concerned, un 
intelligible laws, or by an historical belief equally unin 
telligible as regards its end, it can redeem itself from 
any farther inflictions on the part of God ; this Religion 
itself, I say, is such a system of mystical enchantment, 
in which God is contemplated, not as the Holy One, to be 
separated from whom is, in itself and without farther 
consequence, the greatest of all evils ; but only as a 
dreadful power of Nature, threatening man with its 
devastating visitations, whose agencies, however, we have 
now discovered the means of rendering harmless, or 
even of diverting to our own purposes. 

This which we have now described, and, I think, suffi 
ciently defined and distinguished from all other things 
wherewith it may be associated, is Mysticism in general ; 
and wherever it manifests itself, it must do so with those 
characteristics which we have now set forth : it estab- 


lishes itself in the way we have now described wherever 
it is mere nature. In the case in which we have here to 
speak of it, as the reaction of the Third Age against 
itself, it is not mere nature but chiefly Art. It proceeds 
from deliberate opposition to the principle of the Third 
Age ; from dissatisfaction with the recognised emptiness 
and impotence of that Age ; from the opinion that man 
can save himself from this emptiness and impotence only 
by means of the principle directly opposed to the com 
monly received notion of the comprehensibility of all 
things, i. e. by the Incomprehensible ; and from the de 
termination which arises therefrom, to establish such an 
Incomprehensible. Further, there is in the Third Age, 
and in all natures which proceed from it, but little energy 
to be applied to this Mysticism. How then do its ad 
herents establish this Incomprehensible, and summon up 
the amount of Mysticism which they actually exhibit ? 
They proceed in this way : They set to work to invent 
some imaginary theory as to the hidden principles of Na 
ture, for it is the invariable habit of the Mystic to place 
Nature before him as his object ; he admits whatever 
fancies may occur to his mind, and entertains those among 
them which are most agreeable to him ; stimulating him 
self, should such fancies not flow so readily as he desires, 
by means of physical appliances, the recognised and 
established support of all Artists in Mysticism, in ancient 
and modern times, amongst rude and civilized people ; 
a means through which the clearness, discretion, and free 
dom which belong to genuine Speculation, and which de 
mand the highest degree of temperance, are infallibly lost, 
and from the use of which, for the sake of production, we 
may at once and with certainty conclude that what is 
produced is not true Speculation but mere Mysticism. If 
even with the aid of these accessories the veins of fancy still 
do not flow with sufficient fulness, recourse is had to the 
writings of former Mystics. The more singular and the 


more decried these writings are, the better ; for, according 
to their principles, everything is good in proportion as it 
departs from the prevailing spirit of the Age; and with 
these extraneous fancies they now decorate their own 
imperfect conceits, if indeed they do not take credit for 
them as their own. I may remark in passing, what can 
not be denied, that among these fancies of the old and 
now decried Mystics, there are many admirable and genial 
thoughts; and we have even no wish to deny that amono- 
the more modern of them also there may be found many 
excellent expressions; but these gleams of genius are 
always surrounded by errors, and are never clear in them 
selves : in order to discover the beauties contained in 
these writings, the reader must bring similar excellencies 
with him to their study, and no one will learn from them 
who was not already wiser than they when he sat down 
to their perusal. 

All Mysticism goes forth in a kind of enchantment; 
this is its invariable characteristic. What form of this 
art-magic, then, does that kind of Mysticism of which we 
now speak, exhibit? Only its Scientific form; at least 
we now speak only of the scientific Mysticism of the Age ; 
although there is doubtless another Mysticism of Art, as 
well as one of Life, which we may perhaps characterize at 
another time. This scientific Mysticism must therefore 
endeavour to produce some extraordinary and magical 
effect in science something wholly impossible in the or 
dinary course of Nature. What then ? Science is either 
a priori or empirical. To comprehend a priori Science, 
partly as creating the world of Ideas, and partly as deter 
mining the world of Nature so far as it does determine it ; 
there is needed calm dispassionate thought, ceaselessly 
examining, correcting and explaining itself ; and it re 
quires time and labour, and half a life of devoted endeavour, 
to produce anything remarkable after all. This is too well 
known for any one to dream of the influences of enchant- 


ment here ; hence the Mystics look upon themselves as 
excluded from this province, and whatever they may re 
quire from it for the frame-work of their own productions, 
they can borrow from others, and elaborate after their 
own fashion so that no one may be able to recognise it ; 
and they may the more securely reckon upon conceal 
ment if they abuse him whom they plunder while they 
are plundering him. Empiricism still remains. In so 
far as this is purely empirical, by separation from all that is 
a priori in Nature, it is the common opinion, which may 
indeed be the right one, that this province can only be in 
vestigated by way of experiment, and that every inquirer 
must in the first place acquire an historical acquaintance 
with what is already known, and carefully test it again for 
himself, and can only hope to arrive at any new result by 
means of new experiments based upon an intelligent sur 
vey of the whole existing stores of Experience. This 
however is too tedious, and demands time and persevering 
exertion ; and there are too many skilful fellow-labourers 
who might anticipate our discoveries ; so that we might 
labour on to the end of our lives without getting credit 
for originality. Here some charm might be applied ; and 
it is necessary to have one. Here therefore the Mystic 
attempts to penetrate, by v a direct incursion of fancy, to 
the secret principles of Nature, and thus to supersede the 
course of laborious study and the troublesome method 
of experiment which peradventure might overturn all his 
previously formed systems. 

On account of the universal propensity of human nature 
for the Wonderful, this scheme cannot fail to attract general 
attention and to call forth ardent enthusiasm. Although 
old men who have already travelled this path of laborious 
study, and perhaps have themselves produced fortunate and 
fruitful experiments, may see with some jealousy their 
former labours regarded as fruitless and inglorious, the re 
sults brought to light by their experiments demonstrated 


a priori in a few sentences, and proved to have been at 
tainable in other ways, this phase of the Wonderful not 
having yet appeared when they were young ; the more 
welcome to those who have not yet entered upon this path 
of study, but now stand at the point whence according to 
former usage they must enter upon it, will be the promise 
of being safely lifted over it in the course of a few para 
graphs. Should there, after all, no miracle ensue, as is the 
common fate of such magic arts; should no new empirical 
knowledge arise, and the Faithful remain exactly as wise or 
as ignorant as they were before; should it be obvious, at 
least to every one who is not blind, that whatever is 
essential in any particular instance actually brought for 
ward has not been deduced a priori, nor even attained 
by any course of reasoning, but has been already known 
by means of previous experiment, and is now only com 
pressed into an allegorical form, in which compression 
the pretended deduction consists ; should the wonder 
worker himself neither satisfy the demand which must of 
necessity be made upon him to authenticate his higher 
mission by at least one fulfilled prophecy, nor even pro 
duce, as he ought, a single experiment never before made 
either by himself or others in some region unattainable 
by means of inference from previous experiment, the re 
sults of which, distinctly announced by himself beforehand, 
shall be found coincident with its actual fulfilment, but 
should proceed, like all false prophets, to prophesy the 
result a priori after its accomplishment has taken place; 
should all this unquestionably have occurred, yet will 
the assured Faith of the Adept never waver; to-day in 
deed the process has not succeeded, but on the seventh, 
or on the ninth da,y, it will infallibly succeed. 

To this stimulus of applause, there is added another very 
powerful one. The human mind, left to itself without dis 
cipline or education, would neither be idle nor industrious; 
were a middle state between these two discovered, that 


were the proper thing for it. To remain idle altogether 
and do nothing is too tiresome ; and if one has unfor 
tunately made study his business, it is to be feared that in 
such a case he might learn nothing, which again is un 
pleasant, especially on account of its consequences. Real 
Thought and Speculation are troublesome and unpro 
ductive ; truly to learn anything demands indeed an 
effort of attention and memory. Imagination steps in. 
Let a successful master once bring this power into play, 
and how can he fail if he be a Mystic, since Mysticism is 
always sure to lay hold of the unguarded and inexperi 
enced ? then Imagination pursues its way without farther 
trouble to its possessor, quickens into life, assumes new 
and varied forms, and thus puts on the appearance of a 
vigorous activity without the smallest trouble on our 
part ; bold and adventurous thoughts make their appear 
ance in our minds without we ourselves being called on to 
think at all; and study is changed into the most pleasant 
business in the world. And then, above all, the glorious 
results ! when scarcely released from school, or even 
while still there, to confront the most approved men in the 
land with brilliant thoughts, which they indeed, too well 
acquainted with the nature of true knowledge, have never 
dreamed of! and to be able to shrug our shoulders at their 
momentary embarrassment on account of our absolute k>-- 
norance, as at a confession of their own weakness, and so 
pass on pluming ourselves on our fancied superiority ! 

During the course of this description we have not been 
ignorant, nor have we overlooked the fact, that absolutely 
unscientific men may probably pass the same judgment on 
the labours of genuine Speculation and its friends. We 
grant that, since they must hold all Speculation to be Mys 
ticism, there being absolutely nothing in existence for 
them but Experience, they are perfectly right in doing 
so according to their own view; and, on the other Land, 
since we maintain the existence of a world lying beyond all 

140 LECTURE vur. 

Experience, and at the same time, and precisely on account 
of this a priori world and as a consequence of it, contend 
also for the existence of an Experience which must always 
remain Experience, so we for our part cannot fitly express 
in any other way the censure which is called forth by the 
analogous error, that of introducing & pretended Specu 
lation into the legitimate domain of Experience. Gene 
rally speaking, however, the mere expression is of little 
moment ; but it is of moment that one understand the 
subject under discussion, and can venture to give a reason 
to him who does understand it ; and to this extent, we 
believe that we have vindicated our pretensions, were it 
only by what we have said to-day. It is allowable publicly 
to remain silent upon such obvious folly as does riot force 
its way into our more immediate presence ; and we should 
not, even in this narrow circle, have wasted upon such a 
subject the few words which we have spoken to-day, 
had not the completeness of our undertaking required 
us to do so. 

In fine, this seems to be the spirit of the particular 
period of our Age in which we live : the system of 
mere naked Experience as the only legitimate source of 
Truth may be supposed to be on the decline, and on 
the contrary, the system of Mysticism which, by means 
of a pretended Speculation, seeks to dislodge Experience 
even from its own legitimate province, now begins to 
bear sway with all its revolutionary consequences, in 
order to inflict a fearful retribution on the Race which 
gave itself up to the former delusion. It is in vain to 
seek a remedy against this movement, for it is now a 
necessary tendency of the Age, and is besides equipt 
with all that is most attractive to the Age. Happy the 
wise man who can rise superior to his Age and to all 
Time ! who knows that Time is nothing in itself, and 
that there is a Higher Guidance securely leading our 
Race, amid all its apparent wanderings, to the true end 
of its existence ! 




THE Scientific constitution of the Third Age has been suffi 
ciently described in our former lectures, partly in itself, and 
partly by means of antecedent and succeeding conditions. 
The remaining characteristics and peculiarities of any 
Age depend upon its Social condition, and especially 
upon the State, and are to be defined thereby. Therefore 
we cannot proceed with our delineation of the Third Age, 
until we have seen to what stage of its development the 
State has attained in this Age, of course in the countries 
of the highest Culture, to what extent the Absolute 
Idea of the State is therein expressed and realized, and 
how far it is not. 

In none of the relations of Humanity does our Race 
possess less real liberty, and in none is it more hindered and 
obstructed, than in the constitution of the State, which 
being chiefly determined by the common condition of man 
kind, checks the activity of men of the highest wisdom, 
and sets limits to the realization of their plans. The 
political constitution of an Age is therefore the result of 
its earlier fortunes, whereby its present condition has 
been determined, which in turn determines its constitu 
tion; hence this constitution cannot be understood in 
the way in which we shall endeavour here to understand 


that of our own Age except through the History of the 
Age. But here we meet with a new difficulty, this, 
namely : our Age is far from being at one with itself 
in its view of History, and still farther from agreement 
with that view which we, who are guided by Reason as 
Knowledge, take of History, which view it cannot even 
understand. It is therefore unavoidably necessary that 
we should, in the first place, set forth our own view in 
a general way, and justify it, before making those appli 
cations of it which are afterwards to occupy our attention- 
and to this purpose we shall devote our present lecture. 
It is so much the more incumbent upon us to enter upon 
this exposition, inasmuch as History is itself a part of 
Knowledge, and ranks with Physics as the second depart 
ment of Empiricism ; and we have already expressed 
ourselves distinctly on the nature of these Sciences 
while we have given only a passing glance to History. In 
this respect our present lecture still belongs to that part of 
our undertaking which comprises a picture of Scientific 
existence in. general; closing that division of our plan, 
and opening up a passage to a new portion of it. 

Not by any means with the view of leading your judg 
ment captive beforehand, but, on the contrary, that I may 
incite you to its more vigorous exercise, I have to intimate, 
that I shall here give utterance to nothing but what, in my 
opinion, must become evident to you at once by its own 
immediate clearness ; of which there may be ignorance, 
but with respect to which, when once announced, there 
can be no dispute. 

I begin my definition of the nature of History with a 
metaphysical principle, the strict proof of which I am pre 
vented from adducing solely by the popular nature of our 
present discourses, but which recommends itself directly 
to the natural sense of Truth in man, and without the 
adoption of which we could arrive at no firm foundation 
in the whole field of Knowledge ; with this principle, 


namely : Whatever actually exists, exists of absolute 
necessity ; and necessarily exists in the precise form in 
which it does exist ; it is impossible that it should not exist, 
or exist otherwise than as it does. Hence, to whatever 
possesses real existence we cannot attribute any begin 
ning, any mutability, or any arbitrary cause. The One, 
True, and Absolutely Self-Existent Being, is that which 
all voices call by the name, God. The Existence of 
God is not the mere foundation, cause, or anything else 
of Knowledge, so that the two could be separated from 
each other; but it is absolutely Knowledge itself: His 
Existence and Knowledge are absolutely one and the 
same thing; He exists in Knowledge, precisely as He 
exists in His own Being, as absolute self-sufficient 
Power; and thus when we say His Existence is ab 
solute, and Knowledge has absolute Existence/ the 
meaning is exactly the same. This principle, which is 
here announced merely in the form of a result, may be 
made thoroughly clear in the higher walks of Speculation. 
But further : a World has no Existence but in Know 
ledge, and Knowledge itself is the World ; and thus the 
World, by means of Knowledge, is the Divine Existence 
in its mediate or indirect manifestation ; while Know 
ledge itself is the same Divine Existence in its direct 
or immediate manifestation. If therefore any one should 
say that the World might also not exist ; that at one time 
it actually did not exist; that at another time it arose out 
of nothing; that it came into existence by an arbitrary act 
of God, which act He might have left undone had He so 
pleased; it is just the same as if he should say, that God 
might also not exist; that at onetime He actually did not 
exist; that at another time He came into existence out of 
non-existence, and determined Himself to be by an arbi 
trary act of will, which He might have left undone had He 
so pleased. This Being, then, of whom we now speak, is 
the Absolute Being, transcending all Time; and whatever 


is comprehended in this Idea is only to be perceived a 
priori in the world of Pure Thought, and is invariable 
and unchangeable throughout all Ages. 

Knowledge is, as we have said, the manifestation, utter 
ance, and perfect representative of Divine Power. It 
exists therefore for itself; i.e. Knowledge becomes Self- 
Consciousness; and in this Self-Consciousness it is its 
own peculiar, self-sustaining power, freedom, and activity 
because it is a manifestation of Divine Power; and it 
is all this as Knowledge constantly developing itself 
throughout Eternity to higher inward purity, by means 
of its action upon a certain Object of Knowledge, from 
which this progress takes its beginning. This Object 
manifests itself as a definite something which might have 
been different from what it is ; for this reason, that it 
exists and is yet not understood in its primitive origin; 
and Knowledge has throughout Eternity to unfold its 
own inward power in the comprehension of this Object ; 
and in this progressive development we have the origin 
of Time. 

This Object of Knowledge comes into view only in con 
sequence of the previous existence of Knowledge, and 
thus lies within the limits of that existence as already 
set forth; it is therefore an Object of mere perception, 
and can only be understood empirically. It is the one, 
persistent, and abiding Object, towards the comprehension 
of which Knowledge must strive throughout Eternity : in 
this abiding and objective unity it is called Nature ; and 
the Empiricism which is systematically directed upon it 
is called Physics. On this Object, Knowledge unfolds 
itself in a continuous succession of Eras ; and the Empi 
ricism which is systematically directed upon the fulfilment 
of this succession of Eras is called History. Its object is 
the development of Knowledge on the Unknown ; a de 
velopment which at all times remains unexhausted. 

Thus the Being and Existence which lies beyond all 


Time is in no way contingent ; and no theory of its origin 
can be given either by the Philosopher or by the Histo 
rian : the Actual Existence in Time, on the contrary, 
appears as if it might have been otherwise, and therefore 
as contingent ; but this appearance of contingency arises 
only from our ignorance ; and the Philosopher may say, 
generally, that the Unknown, as well as the infinite steps 
towards its comprehension, exists as it does exist, only 
that it may be so conceived of; but he cannot, by means 
of such a series of conceptions, at all define the Unknown, 
or deduce it from its primitive elements, as in that 
case he must have comprehended Infinity itself, which 
is absolutely impossible. Here therefore is his limit ; 
and should he wish to acquire knowledge in this de 
partment, he is thus plainly directed to Empiricism for 
it. Just as little can the Historian set forth this Un 
known, in his genesis, as the origin of Time. His business 
is to point out the successive modifications of actual Em 
pirical Existence. He must therefore assume beforehand 
this Empirical Existence itself, and all its possible condi 
tions. What these conditions of Empirical Existence are, 
and thus, what is presupposed in the mere possibility of 
History, and must be first of all before History can even 
find a beginning ; this is the business of the Philosopher, 
who has, in the first place, to secure a firm foundation and 
starting-point for the Historian. To speak quite popular 
ly on this point; Has man been created? then he 
could not have been present, at least with consciousness, 
at that event, or have been able to observe how he passed 
over from non-existence into existence ; nor can he relate 
it as a fact to posterity. But, it is said, the Creator has 
revealed it to him. I answer : In that case the Creator 
would have abolished the Unknown whereon the existence 
of man himself depends ; He would thus have destroyed 
man again immediately after his creation ; and, as the 
existence of the world and of man is inseparable from the 



Divine Existence itself, He would at the same time have 
destroyed Himself; which is entirely opposed to Reason. 

As to the origin of the world and of the Human Race, 
then, neither the Philosopher nor the Historian has any 
thing to say ; for there is absolutely no such origin : there 
is only the One Necessary Being, raised above all Time. 
As to the necessary conditions of Actual Existence which 
lie beyond all Actual Existence itself, and therefore be 
yond Empiricism ; of them the Philosopher has to give 
an account ; and should the Historian in his early re 
searches touch upon such themes, he must distinctly un 
derstand that they belong not to the province of History, 
but to that of Philosophy, it may be in the old simple 
form of narrative, in which form it is called Myth; and 
he must here acknowledge the jurisdiction of Reason, 
which in matters of Philosophy is the only judge, and not 
endeavour to sway us by the imposing word Fact. The 
factj often most fruitful and instructive, is here simply 
that such a Myth has been. 

Having thus fixed the boundaries which separate Philo 
sophy and History, I shall now proceed, in the next place, 
to define generally the conditions of Empirical Existence 
which are presupposed in the possibility of History. 

Knowledge necessarily divides itself in consciousness, 
into a consciousness of many individuals and persons : a 
division which is strictly deduced from its first principle 
in the Higher Philosophy. As surely as Knowledge ex 
ists, and this is as sure as that God exists, for it is His 
Existence itself, so surely does Humanity also exist, and 
that in the form of a Human Race consisting of many 
individual members ; and since the condition of the social 
life of men is intercourse by means of speech, this Human 
Race is also provided with the implement of Language. 
No History, therefore, should undertake to explain the 
origin of the Human Race in general, nor of its social life, 
nor of its language. Further, it is a part of the essential 


vocation of Humanity that in this, its first life on Earth, it 
should train itself up with freedom to become an outward 
manifestation of Reason. But out of nothing, nothing 
can arise ; and thus Unreason can never become Reason. 
Hence, in one point of its existence, at least, the Human 
Race must have been purely Reasonable in its primi 
tive form, without either constraint or freedom. In one 
point of its existence, at least, I say ; for the true purpose 
of its existence does not consist in being Reasonable, but 
in becoming Reasonable by its own freedom ; and the for 
mer is only the means and the indispensable condition of 
the latter : we are therefore entitled to no more extensive 
conclusion than that the condition of Absolute Reason 
ableness must have been somewhere extant. From this 
conclusion we are forced to admit the existence of an ori 
ginal Normal People, who by the mere fact of their exist 
ence, without Science or Art, found themselves in a state 
of perfectly developed Reason. But there is nothing to 
hinder us from also admitting that there lived at the 
same time dispersed over the whole earth, timid and rude 
Earth born Savages without any Culture but what was 
necessary for the preservation of their mere sensuous ex 
istence; for the purpose of the life of the Human Race 
is only to cultivate itself according to Reason, and it would 
be quite practicable to carry out this process among the 
Earth born Savages by means of the Normal People. 

As an immediate consequence of this position, no His 
tory should attempt to explain the origin of Culture in 
general, nor the Population of the different regions of the 
Earth. The laboured hypotheses, especially on the last 
point, which are accumulated in books of travels, are, in 
our opinion, trouble and labour lost. But there is nothing 
from which History, as well as a certain half-philosophy, 
should more carefully guard itself than- the altogether 
irrational and fruitless attempt to raise Unreason to 
Reason by a gradual lessening of its degree ; and, given 


only a sufficient range of centuries, to produce at last a 
Leibnitz or a Kant as the descendant of an Ourang- 

History takes cognisance only of the New, the Won 
derful; that which may be contrasted with what has 
gone before, and what shall follow it. On this account 
there was no History among the Normal People, and 
there is no History of them. Under the guidance of their 
Instinct, one day passed away like another ; and one indi 
vidual life like all the rest. Everything shaped itself 
spontaneously according to order and morality. There 
could even be no Science or Art ; Religion alone adorned 
their existence, and gave the simple uninformed mind a 
relation to the Eternal. As little could there be a History 
among the Earth born Savages ; for with them, likewise, 
one day passed away like another, with only this dif 
ference, that on one day they found food in abundance 
while on another they could obtain nothing ; prostrated 
the one day from indulgence and on the next from ener 
vation ; to awaken again, in either case, to the same 
unchanging round which led to no result. 

Had things remained in this state ; had the absolute 
Culture, which however did not look upon itself as Cul 
ture but only as Nature, remained separate from the 
surrounding Barbarism, then no History could have arisen; 
and, what is still more important, the end of the existence 
of the Human Race could not have been attained. The 
Normal People must therefore, by some occurrence or other, 
have been driven away from their habitations, all access 
to which was thenceforth cut off; and must have been dis 
persed over the seats of Barbarism. Now for the first time 
could the process of the free development of the Human 
Race begin ; and with it, History, the record of the 
Unexpected and the New, which accompanies such a 
process. For now, for the first time, the dispersed descen 
dants of the Normal People perceived with astonishment 


that all things were not, of necessity, such as they were 
with them ; but might be otherwise having indeed dis 
covered them to be otherwise in reality ; and the Earth- 
born, after they had been awakened to conscious intelligence, 
had a great deal even more wonderful to record. In this 
conflict of Culture with Barbarism, the germs of all Ideas 
and all Science, except Religion, which is as old as the 
world itself, and is inseparable from the existence of the 
world, unfolded themselves, as the power and means of 
leading Barbarism to Culture. 

Far from History being able reasonably to raise her 
voice on the subject of her own birth, all that has now 
been set forth is presupposed in the mere existence of 
History. Inferences from a state of things amid which 
it has had its beginning, as to what has preceded that 
state, especially inferences from the Myths which are 
already in actual existence, and in so far have them 
selves become facts, particularly when such inferences 
are in accordance with Logic, should be thankfully 
accepted. But let us bear in mind that they are in 
ferences and not History ; and should we desire to ex 
amine more closely the form of the inference, let us not be 
scared back by the bugbear Fact. Let this be our first 
incidental observation ; and let the second be as follows : 
Every one who is capable of a survey of History as a 
w hole, which however is always rarer than a knowledge 
of its individual curiosities ; and who in particular is able 
to comprehend what is universal, eternal, and unchanging 
in it, might in such a survey obtain a clear view of some 
of the most important problems of History ; for example, 
how the existence of races of men, differing so much 
from each other in colour and physical structure, is 
possible ; why it is that at all times, down even to the 
present day, civilization is always spread by means of 
foreign incomers, who encounter aboriginal inhabitants 
in a state of greater or lesser Barbarism ; whence arises 


the inequality among men discoverable wherever History 
lias a beginning ; and so forth. 

All that we have now set forth are necessary conditions 
of the existence of a Human Race ; the latter, however, 
must absolutely be ; and hence the former must have been ; 
so far Philosophy informs us. Now all this is not merely 
a general supposition, but these things must further have 
had a definite existence; for example, with regard to what 
we have said above, the existence of the Normal People 
is not a mere general supposition, but they must have ex 
isted in one particular region of the earth and in no other; 
although, so far as appears to us, they might have existed 
elsewhere; they had a language, which of course was con 
stituted according to the fundamental laws of all language, 
but which possessed besides an element which appears to 
us as if it might have been otherwise, and therefore as an 
arbitrary element. Here Philosophy is at an end, because 
the Comprehensible is at an end ; and what is Incompre 
hensible in the present life begins. Here accordingly 
Empiricism enters the field, which in this connexion is 
named History; and the subordinate phenomena, which 
only in their general nature can be deduced from a 
priori principles, would now present themselves in their 
special and particular character as facts, without any 
explanation of their genesis, if they were not necessarily 
-concealed from the view of History by other causes. 

This much, however, follows from what has now been 
said : History is mere Empiricism ; it has only facts to 
communicate, and all its proofs are founded upon facts 
alone. To attempt to rise from such facts to Primeval 
History, or to argue how such or such a thing might 
have been, and then to take for granted that it has been 
so in reality, is to stray beyond the limits of History, 
and produce an a priori History; just as the Philosophy of 
Nature, referred to in our preceding lecture, endeavoured 
to find an a priori Science of Physics. 


The evidence of facts proceeds in the following manner: 
First of all, there is a fact which has come down to our own 
time, which may be seen with our eyes, heard with our 
ears, and felt with our hands. This can be understood only 
on the supposition of an earlier fact no longer perceptible 
to us. Hence such an earlier fact is admitted as having 
been once perceptible. This rule, that we can accept as 
proved only so much of the earlier fact as is absolutely ne 
cessary for the comprehension of the now-existing fact, is 
to be taken strictly; for it is only to the Understanding, and 
by no means to the Imagination, that we can concede any 
value in historical evidence. Why then should we attempt 
to educe and define the earlierfact further than is absolutely 
requisite for the explanation of the present ? In all Sciences, 
and particularly in History, it is of greater importance to 
understand distinctly how much we do not know than to 
fill up the void with fiction and conjecture. For example, 
I read a work which is said to be Cicero s, and till now has 
been universally acknowledged to be his : this is the fact of 
the Present. The earlier fact to be detected herein is this: 
Whether the particular Cicero who is distinctly known 
to us by means of other history did actually write this 
work. I go through the whole series of evidence lying in 
the interval of time between me and Cicero; but I know 
that herein error and illusion are possible, and this external 
proof of authenticity is not in itself decisive. I turn there 
fore to the internal characteristics : Is it the style, the mode 
of thinking of a man who lived at that time, who filled such 
a station in society, and was surrounded by such circum 
stances ? Suppose I find these things so, then the evidence 
is complete : it is not possible to conceive that this 
book, as it now exists, could have existed if Cicero had 
not written it : he was the only man who could write 
it thus ; therefore he has written it. 

Another instance: I read the first chapters of the so- 
called first book of Moses, and, as must be presupposed, I 


understand them. Whether it was Moses who composed 
them; or, since this, from internal evidence, may he ob- 
viously impossible, whether it was he who collected them 
from mere verbal tradition and placed them on record; or 
whether it was Ezra, or some still later writer ; is of no 
importance to me here : it is even of no importance 
to me in this case whether any such person as Moses 
or Ezra ever lived ; nor do I care to know how this 
composition has been preserved ; fortunately it has been 
preserved, and this is the main point. I perceive by its 
contents that it is a Myth concerning the Normal People 
in opposition to another merely Earth born People ; and 
concerning the religion of the Normal People and their 
dispersion ; and of the origin of the Jehovah- Worship, 
among the adherents of which the primitive religion of 
the Normal People was once more to re-appear, and 
through them to be spread over the whole world. I 
conclude from the contents of this Myth that it must 
be older than all History, since from the commencement 
of the historic period down to the time of Jesus there 
was none able even to understand much less to invent 
it; and also because I find the same Myth everywhere 
repeated as the mythical beginning of the History of 
all nations ; although in a more fabulous and sensuous 
form. The existence of this Myth, before all other His 
tory, is the first fact of History, and its true beginning ; 
and therefore it cannot be explained by means of any 
previous fact : the contents of this Myth are thus not 
History but Philosophy, and a belief in it is no further 
obligatory on any one than as it is confirmed by his own 

We have said before, that if the true end of the Ex 
istence of the Human Race was to be attained it was 
necessary that the Normal People should be dispersed 
over the seats of Barbarism : and now, for the first time, 
there occurred something new and remarkable, which 


aroused the memory of Man for its preservation ; now, 
for the first time, could History, properly so called, have 
a beginning ; for it can do no more than collect in the 
shape of facts, and by means of mere Empiricism, that 
gradual civilization of the Actual Human Race of His 
tory which is produced by the admixture of the original 
Culture with the original Barbarism. In this province, 
for the first time, the historical Art, the fundamental 
principle of which we have stated above, comes into 
play for the discovery and collection of facts ; and to enable 
us to comprehend clearly and completely the actual con 
dition of the Present Time, particularly in so far as it 
may lead us to the discovery of previous facts, as well 
as to perceive distinctly under the condition of what 
earlier facts alone the present can be understood. It 
is here particularly necessary to dismiss altogether the 
delusive notion of probability which, taking its rise in 
a feeble Philosophy, has thence spread over every other 
science, and especially has found a secure refuge in 
History. The Probable, because it is only probable, is 
for that very reason not true; and why should we 
concede any place whatever in Science to the untrue? 
Strictly speaking, the Probable is what would be true if 
such and such principles, evidences, and facts which are 
awanting, could be produced. If we are of opinion that 
these absent proofs may be recovered, perhaps by the 
discovery of lost documents, or the digging up of hidden 
volumes, we may then properly enough note down these 
probabilities, so that their substance may not be lost, 
distinguishing them by this mark, mere probabilities, 
accompanied with a notice of what is requisite to 
establish their truth ; but we must by no means 
fill up the gap between them and Truth by our 
own too easy belief, and by the desire to prove an 
hypothesis which we, as Historians, choose to advance 
a priori 


The History of this gradual Culture of the Human Race, 
as History properly so called, is again made up of two in 
timately connected elements ; one a priori, and the other 
a posteriori. The a priori is the World-Plan, the general 
features of which we have set forth in our first lecture, 
conducting Humanity through the Five Epochs already 
enumerated. Without historical information at all the 
Thinker may know that these Epochs, as we have de 
scribed them, must succeed each other, and may also be 
able, in the same way, to characterize generally such of 
them as have not yet taken their place in History as 
facts. Now this development of the Human Race does 
not take place at once, as the philosopher pictures it to 
himself in thought, but, disturbed by foreign powers, it 
takes place gradually, at different times, in different 
places, and under particular circumstances. These con 
ditions do not by any means arise from the Idea of the 
World-Plan, but are unknown to it ; and since there is 
no other Idea of a World-Plan, they are an Absolute 
Unknown to Philosophy : and here begins the pure Em 
piricism of History ; its a posteriori element ; History in 
its own proper form. 

The Philosopher who in his capacity of Philosopher 
meddles with History follows the a priori course of the 
World-Plan, which is clear to him without the aid of His 
tory at all ; and the use which he makes of History is 
not to prove anything by it, for his principles are already 
proved independently of History ; but only to illustrate 
and make good in the actual world of History, that 
which is already understood without its aid. Through 
out the whole course of events, therefore, he selects only 
the instances in which Humanity really advances towards 
the true end of its being, and appeals only to these 
instances, laying aside and rejecting everything else; 
and as he does not intend to prove historically that Hu 
manity has to pursue this course, having already proved 


it philosophically, he only points out, for the purposes 
of illustration, the occasions on which this has been 
visible in History. The mere Collector of Facts indeed 
proceeds, and ought to proceed, quite differently. But 
his business is not to be despised on account of its 
opposition to Philosophy ; it is, on the contrary, highly 
honourable if properly pursued. He has absolutely no 
support, no guide, no fixed point, except the mere out 
ward succession of years and centuries, wholly irrespective 
of their significance ; and it is his business to declare 

O > 

all that can be discovered historically in any of these 
Epochs of Time. He is an Annalist. Does anything 
of this kind escape him 1 then he has transgressed the 
rules of his art, and must endure the reproach of 
ignorance or carelessness. Now in each of these Epochs, 
which he distinguishes only by their succession in 
Time, but not by means of their essential nature, 
there lie, as only the Philosopher can tell him, or the 
Annalist himself if he be a Philosopher may know, the 
most diverse elements in immediate contact and inter 
mixture ; the remnants of original Barbarism, or of an 
original Culture which has passed away without com 
munication ; remnants or else foreshadowings of all the 
other four Epochs of Culture; and finally the actually 
living and progressive Culture itself. The merely em 
pirical Historian has to collect faithfully all these ele 
ments just as he finds them, and to place them in order 
beside each other : the Philosopher who uses History for 
the purpose which we have here in view, has only to do 
with the latter element, the actually living and pro 
gressive movement of Culture, laying aside all the rest; 
and thus the empirical Historian, who should judge him 
according to the rules of his own art, and conclude that he 
was ignorant of that which he had no occasion to produce, 
would be at fault, for it is specially to be expected of the 
Philosopher that he should not bring forward on every 


occasion all that he knows, but only so much as bears upon 
the purpose in view. To make the distinction clear at 
once : the Philosopher employs History only so far as it 
serves his purpose, laying aside everything of which he 
can make no use ; and I announce freely, that in the 
following inquiry I shall employ it in this way. Such 
a proceeding, which would be highly culpable in the 
mere empirical study of History, and would indeed sub 
vert the very nature of this science, is quite justifiable 
in the Philosopher; for he has already, independently of 
all History, proved the principles for the illustration of 
which he makes use of History. He should indeed 
deserve blame did he assert as fact that which had 
never taken place; but he relies upon the results of 
historical inquiry, of which results he employs only the 
most general; and it would be a great misfortune to 
historical inquiry itself, if so much as this were not 
clearly established ; but he deserves no blame if he is 
merely silent with respect to some things which may 
nevertheless have taken place.. He endeavours to under 
stand the true significance and meaning of such historical 
events as are of universal importance ; and with regard 
to them he calls to mind only the fact of their occur 
rence; the manner in which they took place, which 
doubtless implies many other facts, he leaves to the 
empirical Historian. Should he find that, with his per 
haps limited knowledge of historical details, he may 
yet be able to understand and explain a fact in its 
connexion with the whole World-Plan much better than 
he who possesses a more extensive acquaintance with such 
details, he need not be surprised at this, for only on this 
account is he a Philosopher. In short, it is Necessity 
which guides our Race, not by any means a mere blind 
Necessity, but the living, conscious, and intelligent Ne 
cessity of the Divine Life ; and only after we have come 
under this gentle leading can we be truly free, and 


interpenetrated with Life; for beyond this there is 
nothing but Illusion and Unreality. Nothing is as it 
is, because God wills it so arbitrarily, but because He 
cannot manifest Himself otherwise than as he does. 
To acknowledge this guidance, humbly to acquiesce 
therein, and in the consciousness of this identity with 
the Divine Power to attain true Blessedness, is the 
business of all men ; to comprehend in clear intelligence 
what is Universal, Absolute, Eternal, and Unchangeable 
in this leading of the Human Race, is the business of 
the Philosopher; to set forth the Actual Phenomena 
of the inconstant and ever-changing spheres over which 
with steadfast course it holds its way, is the business of 
the Historian ; whose discoveries are only incidentally 
employed by the former. 

It is of course to be understood that the use which 
we have partly made of History already, and partly 
still intend to make of it, can be no other than this 
its philosophical use, and cannot be looked at otherwise 
than as we have described it to-day, I trust clearly 
and distinctly. Our next task shall be to show how 
the Idea of the State according to Reason gradually 
became realized among men, and at what point of this 
development of the Absolute State our own Age stands. 
In order to confine ourselves very carefully within the 
boundaries of our own Science, and not to give any 
cause on our part for reviving the old dispute between 
Philosophy and History, we shall not even give out that 
which we have to state on this subject as ascertained 
historical data, but only as hypotheses and distinct 
questions for History, leaving it to the Historian to 
bring them to the test of facts, and to inquire how far 
they are confirmed thereby. Should our views prove 
merely new and interesting, they may still give rise to 
inquiries from which at least something also new and 
interesting may come forth, if not exactly that which was 


hoped for; and so our trouble shall not be wholly 
lost. Restricting ourselves to this modest desire, we 
hope that we shall not lose the countenance even of the 

( 159 ) 



To show at what point of its development the State has 
arrived in our own Age, is our next business as announced 
in the last lecture. The intelligibility of the demonstration 
which we have to make must evidently depend upon our 
starting from a strictly defined conception of the State in 
its Absolute Form. 

There is nothing, especially in the Epoch in which we 
live, about which more has been written, read, and 
spoken, than about the State : therefore in all cultivated, 
even if not exactly scientific society, we can reckon, 
almost with certainty, upon a greater amount of existing 
knowledge and opinion concerning the State than con 
cerning any other subject. We must first of all declare, 
especially with regard to what we intend to say here 
upon this question, that we partly coincide with certain 
well-known authors but upon other and profounder 
principles than theirs ; while we differ from them again 
in many important matters : and that the view of the 
State most prevalent among German Philosophers is not 
unknown to us, according to which the State ought to be 
almost nothing more than a juridical institution ; a view 
which we oppose with deliberate and well-considered de 
termination. It is to be remembered, then, that we are 


compelled to begin with some apparently uninteresting 
principles, concerning which, all I can ask of you at 
first is only to keep them in mind : but I trust that 
before the end of this lecture these principles shall have 
become quite clear, by means of farther definitions and 

The Absolute State is in its form, according to our opi 
nion, an artistic institution, intended to direct all indivi 
dual powers towards the Life of the Race and to transfuse 
them therein; and thus to realize and manifest in indivi 
dual life the general form of the Idea, as we have already 
sufficiently described it. Since the State cannot calculate 
upon the inward life and the original activity of the Idea 
in the minds of men, all life in Idea being of this latter 
kind, as we have seen in our former lectures, and since 
it rather operates outwardly upon individuals who feel no 
desire, but on the contrary a reluctance, to offer up their 
individual life for the Race, it follows that this institution 
must be one of constraint. For those individuals in 
whom the Idea has assumed a real inward life, and whose 
wish and desire is nothing else than to offer up their lives 
for the Race, no constraint is necessary and for them it 
disappears; the State remains, with respect to them, 
only that comprehensive Unity which continually watches 
over the Whole, which points out and explains at all times 
the first and nearest purpose of the Race, and arranges 
the willing powers of man in their appropriate sphere of 
action. It is an artistic institution, we have said : but it 
is so, in the strictest sense of this word as an institution of 
free and self-intelligent Art, only after it has scientifically 
penetrated to its complete and perfect purpose in the 
Age of Reason as Knowledge, and to the means for the 
attainment of that purpose, when the Fifth Age of Rea 
son as Art has begun. But there is also an order in Na 
ture, that is, in the destiny of the Human Race, through 
which it is led towards its true end without its own know- 


or will ; which order might be called the Art of 
Nature : and in this sense alone I call the State, in the 
first Ages of the Human Race, an artistic institution. 
What we have already set forth as the dedication of all 
individual powers to the purpose of the Race, is the Ab 
solute State according to its form ; i. e. the existence of 
a State at all depends simply on the dedication of the 
individual powers to a purpose of the Race whatever 
that purpose of the Race may be. It remains, however, 
quite undecided by this definition of the State, liow many 
purposes of the Race to the attainment of which the 
individual power is to be dedicated can be prosecuted 
in particular States ; and it remains just as undecided 
by this definition what is the absolute purpose of the Race, 
by the disclosure of which the material of the State, 
the true meaning and purpose of it, might be described. 
And now, after these preliminary definitions, to examine 
more closely the Idea which we have announced : In the 
first place, the State which has to direct a necessarily 
finite sum of individual powers towards the common pur 
pose, must regard itself as a completed whole ; and, as its 
common purpose is identical with that of the Human 
Race, it must regard the aggregate of its citizens as the 
Human Race itself. It is not irreconcilable with this 
view that it may also entertain purposes connected with 
others who are not numbered among its Citizens : for these 
purposes will still be its own, undertaken merely on its 
own account, those, namely, to the attainment of which 
it directs the individual powers of its own Citizens ; and 
in every case, therefore, it devotes these powers to itself, 
considered as the Highest, as the Race. It is therefore the 
same thing whether we say, as above, that the State directs 
all individual powers towards the life of the Race ; or, as 
here, that it directs them towards its own life as the State : 
only that this latter expression first acquires its true mean 
ing through the former, as we shall soon see. 



Once more : the nature of the Absolute State consists 
herein, that all individual powers be directed towards 
the Life of the Race, in place of which Race the State 
puts the aggregate of its own Citizens. It therefore be 
comes necessary, first, that all Individuals, without excep 
tion, should be embraced and taken into equal account by 
the State ; and second, that every Individual with all his 
individual powers, without exception or reserve, should be 
likewise taken into account. In a State so constituted, 
where all as Individuals are dedicated to the Race, it fol 
lows at the same time, that all the Rights which belong 
to them as component parts of the Race are dedicated to 
all the other individual members of the State. For, to 
what are the powers of all directed ? to the Race. But 
what does the State hold as the representative of the 
Race ? all its Citizens, without a single exception. Were 
there some Individuals either not taken into account at 
all in the common purpose, or not taken into account with 
all their powers, while the rest were included, then the 
former would enjoy all the advantages of the union with 
out bearing all the attendant burdens, and there would 
thus be inequality. Only where all without exception are 
taken into account, is equality the result. Consequently, 
in this constitution, the individuality of each absolutely 
disappears in the community of all; and each one receives 
back his contribution to the common power, strengthened 
by the united powers of all the rest. The purpose of the 
isolated Individual is his own enjoyment, and he uses his 
power as the means of its attainment ; the purpose of 
the Race is Culture, and the honourable subsistence 
which is the condition of Culture : in the State, each In 
dividual employs his powers, not for his own immediate 
enjoyment, but for the purpose of the Race, and he receives 
in return the whole united Culture of the Race, and there 
with his own honourable subsistence. We must guard 
ourselves, however, against regarding the State as if it 


were dependent on this or that Individual, or on Indi 
viduals generally, and were composed of them : almost the 
only way in which ordinary philosophers are able to con 
ceive of a Whole. The State, in itself, is an unseen 
Idea ; just as the Race has been described in our former 
lectures : it is not single Individuals, but their continu 
ous relation to each other, the living and ever-changing 
production of which is the work of Individuals as they 
exist in space. To make my idea clear by an example : 
The Rulers are by no means the State, but merely Citizens 
like all the rest ; and there is absolutely no individual cha 
racter in the State but that of Citizen. The Rulers/ as well 
as all other Individuals, with all their individual powers, 
are taken into account in order to direct the powers of the 
governed, who no more than they constitute the State, 
towards the common purpose, so far as they understand 
it, and to enforce this purpose on all who are opposed to 
it. Only that result which arises from their guidance and 
the directed power of the governed taken together, do 
we call the State in the strictest sense of the word. 

Only one objection is here to be anticipated ; which I 
meet directly. It may be said : Why then are all the powers 
of Individuals to be taken into account in the purpose 
of the State ? If this purpose might be attained at less 
cost, would it not, in that case, be sufficient to secure 
the desired equality that the necessary expenditure of 
power should be equally divided among All; and the free 
use of the superfluous power be left to the free will of 
each Individual ? To which we reply : First of all, the 
supposed case, that the united power of all Individuals 
might not be necessary for the purpose of the State, can 
never occur, and is impossible. Such powers of the In 
dividual as are perhaps unknown to himself, and also 
such as may be known to him but are unknown or un 
available to the State, are indeed not to be taken into 
account in the purpose of the State ; but all individual 

164) LECTURE X. 

power which is known and accessible to the State is 
necessary to it for the furtherance of its purpose : its 
purpose is Culture, and in order to maintain the position 
to which a State has already attained, and to advance 
still further, it requires at all times the exertion of every 
-available power; for only through the united power of 
All has it attained this position. Should it not take the 
whole into account, it must recede instead of advancing, 
and lose its position in the ranks of Culture : and what 
would further arise out of this we shall see at another 
time. Secondly, I ask, What would the Citizens do 
with the remaining power which should in that case be 
left for their free use ? Shall they remain idle and leave 
this power unemployed ? This is contrary to every form 
of Culture and is in itself Barbarism ; the cultivated man 
cannot be inactive or unemployed beyond the necessary 
period of rest required by his sensuous nature, and this 
period of rest the State in any case would have left to 
him. Or shall they apply this power for the advance 
ment of their individual purposes? In a Perfect State 
no just individual purpose can exist which is not in 
cluded in the purposes of the Community, and for the 
attainment of which the Community does not provide. 
Should it finally be said, This power may be applied 
by the Individual for the purpose of his own private and 
undisturbed Culture; then my answer would be, There 
is no kind of Culture which does not proceed from 
society, that is from the State, in the strictest sense of 
the word; and none on which it is not incumbent to 
strive to return to the State again : this Culture is there 
fore itself a purpose of the State, and its advancement 
in each Individual according to his degree must have 
already been taken into account in the Perfect State. 
We shall afterwards take care that this shall not be 
misunderstood in its application to the Actual State : 
here we speak only of the Perfect State, and to it the 


principle which we have laid down is applicable without 
any limitation. 

To raise themselves with freedom to this Absolute State, 
as one of the conditions imposed by Reason on the Human 
Race, is the vocation of Mankind. This gradual elevation 
could take place neither in the state of Innocence among 
the Normal People, nor in the state of original Barbarism 
among the Savages. 

Not among the former: there men found themselves in 
the most perfect social relations, without need of any re 
straint or superintendence : every one acted justly and for 
the common advantage, spontaneously and without re 
flection on his own part, or on the part of any one else for 
him; and without this condition being first brought about 
either by his own skill or by any process of nature : we 
have here no trace of a new genesis. Neither could this 
occur among the latter: there each individual cared only 
for himself; and indeed only for his lower, merely animal, 
wants ; and no one rose to the conception of any higher 
enjoyment. Consequently it was only in the commingling 
of the two original tribes of our Race, as the Actual 
Human Race of History, that the development of the 
State could begin and be carried out. 

The first condition of a State, and the first essential 
characteristic of our idea of it, as stated above, is this : 
That Freemen must at first become subject to the will and 
superintendence of other Freemen. Freemen, I say, in 
opposition to Slaves : and by Freemen I mean those to 
whose own skill and judgment it is left to provide the 
means of subsistence for themselves and their families; 
who are accordingly sovereign heads of families, and 
even continue to be so after their submission to a 
foreign will which has other purposes in view. A Slave, 
on the contrary, is he to whom there is not left even 
the care for his own subsistence, but who is maintained 
by another, and in return becomes subject with his whole 


powers to the arbitrary will of his master ; who therefore 
cannot be the head of a family, but is a member of a 
foreign family, and a bondsman for life; his master having 
no other reason for maintaining him but that his main 
tenance is more profitable than his destruction. Free 
men, I said, as such, and on the supposition that thev still 
remain free, must subject themselves to a foreign" will ; 
and I said so for this reason : It belongs to the Idea 
of a State, that the subjected may at least themselves 
become a purpose ; and this can only occur when in their 
subjection they still remain free within a certain sphere, 
and this sphere of their liberty afterwards comes with 
in the purpose of the State when the State advances 
to higher Culture; but the Slave as such, and in the 
case of his never attaining freedom, cannot himself be 
come a purpose ; he is at best, like every other animal, 
a mere instrument of his master s purpose; but by no 
means a purpose himself. In this subjection of Freemen 
to the oversight and rule of other Freemen, there are 
then two, or, if we reckon otherwise, three cases possible: 

and, as this subjection is the origin of the State, 

there are just as many possible fundamental forms of the 
State, through which it must pass towards its accomplish 
ment ; and I entreat you to observe well, and even to com 
mit to memory, these fundamental forms, as the foundation 
upon which we intend to rest all our subsequent disquisi 
tions upon this subject. 

Namely, by this subjection the general mass of in 
dividuals who have thereby come into combination, 
considered as a completed Whole, are either All without 
exception subjected to the Whole, that is, to the common 
purpose of All, as it should be in the Perfect State ; 
or they are not All subjected to the Whole. The latter case 
where All are not subjected to the Whole, can only 
be supposed possible in this way as the subjected at 
least are All subjected, that the suljectors have not, on 


their part, subjected themselves reciprocally to the others 
and to the necessary purposes which are common to 
the others and to themselves. The subjectors have con 
sequently subjected the others to their own particular 
purpose; which, as it cannot be, or at least cannot be 
wholly, one of sensuous enjoyment for in that case 
they would at once have reduced the subjected to slavery 
and" destroyed their freedom altogether, must necessarily 
be the purpose of ruling for the sake of ruling. This 
would be our jirst case, as it is the first form which the 
State assumes in Time : namely, the absolute inequality 
of the members of the State, who are divided into the 
classes of Rulers and Ruled, which can never exchange 
their relative positions so long as this arrangement 
endures. It is evident here, in passing, that such a State 
cannot subdue its vassals with all their powers to its purpose, 
as the State can certainly do when it has a better purpose 
in view : for, in so doing, it would make them perfect 
Slaves, and would thereby cease to deserve the name even 
of a nascent State. Our other case was this : That all 
the individual members of the State, without exception, are 
subjected to the purpose of the Whole. This, again, is pos 
sible in two ways: First, all the individual members may 
be only negatively subjected to the Whole: that is, a 
purpose may be secured to every one without exception, 
in the prosecution of which no one else dares to hinder 
him. Such a purpose, secured by the constitution against 
interference on the part of any one else, is called a 
Right: in such a constitution, therefore, every one has 
a Right to which all other men without exception are 
subjected. Equality of Right for all men as Right ; but 
bv no means identical Rights ; for the purposes secured 
to different individuals may be very different in extent, 
and the existing state of such relations was generally taken 
for the measure of Right when the dominion of Laws 
It is evident that the State which occupies this 


position, since it confers Rights upon some of its Citizens 
which exceed the Rights of others who are nevertheless 
able to keep their ground, is far from subjecting all the 
powers of these favourites to its purpose : nay, since 
by these Privileges of its favourites it hinders the others 
in the free use of their powers, that it even wastes these 
powers for the purposes of Individuals ; and therefore, 
with all its Equality of Right, is far removed from the 
Absolute form of the State. The case we have now 
described would be the second fundamental form of the 
State, and the second stage upon which our Race would 
find itself in its progress towards the perfect form of the 
State. Lastly, that all the individual members of the 
State are subjected to the purpose of the Whole, may 
also mean, that they are not merely subjected nega 
tively thereto, but also positively ; so that absolutely no 
Individual can propose any purpose to himself, and 
devote himself to its furtherance, which is his own 
merely and not at the same time the purpose of the 
whole Community. It is obvious that in such a constitu 
tion all the powers of all men are taken into account for 
the common purpose, this common purpose being no other 
than the purpose of all men without exception considered as 
a Race; and that therefore this constitution manifests the 
Absolute form of the State, and a true equality of Rights 
and Powers begins. This equality does not by any means 
exclude the distinction of Classes in society; that is, the dif 
ferent modes in which human power may be applied, which 
are left to the exclusive cultivation of Individuals, who again 
leave the other modes of this application of power to the 
exclusive cultivation of other men. But no Class, and no 
exclusive application of power, must be permitted, which 
is not dedicated to the purpose of the Whole, and which is 
not absolutely necessary for the Whole ; the produce of 
which is not actually partaken of by all other classes, and 
by all the Individuals who compose these classes, according 


to their ability to enjoy it. This would be the third stage 
of the development of the State ; in which it would be 
perfected, at least according to its Form. 

It will be found, and perhaps it may be understood at 
once by the more attentive and prepared auditor, that by 
means of this perfection of its Form, the State for the first 
time obtains possession of its true Material, that is, the 
genuine purpose of the Human Race which has associated 
itself within it; and that it has still to go through many 
stages of its progress before its end shall be attained. We 
speak here in the meantime only of the Form of the State. 

I have undertaken these preliminary inquiries in order 
that we maybe enabled to show what point of its develop 
ment the State has attained in our own Age, in those 
countries, of course, where it is farthest advanced. In the 
meantime I may declare, that in my opinion the State, 
still occupied with the completion of its Form, has now 
firmly established itself on what we have described as 
the second stage, and endeavours to attain the third ; 
which latter it has even attained in part, and in part has 
not yet attained. Hence, that in our own Age more than 
at any previous time, every Citizen, with all his powers, is 
subjected to the purpose of the State, is thoroughly pene 
trated by it, and so has become its instrument; and that 
the State endeavours to make this subjection universal and 
complete : this constitutes, in our opinion, the funda 
mental character of the Age in its Civil Relations. 
What we precisely mean by this assertion, and that it 
is actually the case, will be most easily shown by de 
picting Times when it was not so ; and by setting forth 
historically how, and by what course, it has gradually 
become as it now is. We reserve this inquiry, as well as 
some other investigations, which must precede it, for the 
following lectures. 

Let us, however, discuss one not unimportant point of 
this Material to-day : that of Political Freedom. Even in 



the first form of the State the Subject remained personally 
free : he did not become a Slave. Had all been made Slaves, 
then the nature of the whole institution would have been, 
lost. In this condition, however, not even the personal 
freedom of the Subject was guaranteed : he might be re 
duced to slavery by one of the Rulers; he had therefore no 
Civil Freedom, that is, as we have explained it above, he 
had no Right secured to him by the constitution : he was in 
fact not a Citizen but only a Subject; a Subject, however, 
only to a certain extent, not being a Slave ; and beyond 
the limits of his subjection he was free, not through Law, 
but through Nature and Accident. In the second form of 
the State, each Individual, without exception, received back 
through the constitution a portion of freedom, not ex 
actly of arbitrary power, but of independence, by which 
he compelled all other men to respect a certain purpose or 
Right which belonged peculiarly to him; and every one 
had thus his own degree, not of mere personal liberty, but 
of secured and therefore Civil Freedom ; while beyond 
this he was a Subject; and if the Privileges of others, by 
which he was restrained, were more extensive than his own, 
he was more a Subject than a Citizen. In the Absolute 
form of the State, where all the powers of all men are 
called into activity for the necessary purpose of the whole 
community, each Individual binds all others just in so far 
a,s he is bound by them: all have equal Civil Rights or 
Civil Freedom; and each Individual is thus at once a com 
plete Citizen and a complete Subject; and, for the same 
reason, all are Citizens and Subjects in like manner. If 
we call that the Sovereign power which in reality gives 
its purpose to the State, then, in this last-mentioned 
form of the State, every Citizen will be a part of the 
Sovereign power in the same manner and in the same 
degree ; and if in this respect we bestow the title 
Sovereign upon Individuals, then the principle just laid 
down may also be expressed thus : Each Individual is 


entirely a Sovereign in respect of liis necessary purpose 
as a member of the Race, and entirely a Subject in respect 
of the application of his individual powers : and all 
are therefore both Sovereign and Subject in the same 

Such is the case in reference to the State, when taken in 
its strictest sense, as we have described it above, i.e. as 
an Idea. It is a wholly different question, possessing no 
thing in common with the former one, Who then shall 
understand and measure this purpose of the State 
given to it in reality, although not openly, by the Com 
munity as a whole, and, by means of this estimate, guide 
the power of the Citizens, and compel such as may oppose 
themselves thereto ? in one word, Who shall govern ? 
Since it is impossible that any higher estimate of the 
purpose which has been given to the State by the Com 
munity as a whole can find a place in the State itself, 
all other powers and capacities in the State being sub 
jected to this supreme estimate and guided thereby; 
it follows that this estimate is associated with external 
independence and freedom ; and indeed with Political 
Freedom, if the Greek word from which this expression is 
derived may be applied to the active and efficient admin 
istration of a State. The former question would regard 
the Constitution of the State, which is and ought to be 
absolutely determined by Reason alone : the question now 
raised is directed to the Form of Government. 

It is evident, that with respect to the latter, only two 
cases are possible : either all individuals without exception 
take part by right, and in a perfectly equal degree, in this 
estimate, and, by means of it, in the direction of all the 
powers of the State; and then All are partakers of Political 
Freedom, and are so in an equal degree: or this estimate, 
arid the direction consequent upon it, is given over exclu 
sively to a certain number of individuals : which latter 
case, according to our previous investigations, amounts to 


nothing more than this, that a particular Class in society 
is established by Art, or is met with in Nature and History, 
to which is committed, as its exclusive branch of the general 
application of power, the estimate of the purpose of the 
State, and the task of governing according to this estimate; 
while the other Classes direct their powers to something 
else ; and all of them, in their common character as the 
governed, stand opposed to the Rulers. Here Political 
Freedom is possessed only by the Rulers;, the governed are 
altogether without it, and, in reference to the Government, 
they are merely Subjects. 

In the first place, the Constitution of the State, as it 
should be according to Reason, is not necessarily altered 
or abridged in any respect by such a form of Government 
as we have now described. The governing Class remains 
subject to the common purpose of the State, which is 
determined by the general wants of the Community ; and 
it must apply all its powers, without exception or reserve, 
directly to the attainment of this purpose; just as the 
other Classes have to dedicate their labour indirectly to 
the attainment of the same purpose : hence, in regard to 
this purpose, it is as much subjected as the others. This 
Class itself, as a constituent element of the Race, is a part 
of the purpose of the State ; and the attainment of its 
wants, as an element of the Race, but not as a governing 
Class, must likewise be secured ; and the Ruler is therefore 
a Citizen, just as much as al] the others but in no higher 

It is thus only the form of the State which is deter 
mined, and its realization absolutely required, by Reason ; 
but by no means the form of Government. If the purpose 
of the State be understood, as clearly as is possible at the 
time, and all existing power be directed towards the reali 
zation of this highest conception, then is the Government 
right and good, whether it be in the hands of All, or in 
the hands of a few Individuals, or finally in those of a- 


single Individual : it being understood, in this last case, 
that this single Individual chooses his assistants according 
to his own judgment, who remain subject and responsible 
to him. Civil Freedom, and that to an equal degree, is 
absolutely required for all men ; but Political Freedom is, 
at most, only necessary for one. All the inquiries which 
have ever been set on foot concerning the best Govern 
ment, particularly in later times, have bad finally in view 
to find a means of restraining the all-restraining power of 
Government : first of all, in order that, as an absolutely 
correct insight cannot be obtained by force, there may at 
least be the best possible insight actually applied to the 
Government ; and, in that case, that this best possible in 
sight shall be actually realized. How useful soever this 
inquiry may be in itself, and however possible the theo 
retical solution of the problem, which indeed may actually 
have been solved somewhere ; yet thousands of years may 
pass over our Race before this solution can belong to a 
philosophical characterization of any Present Age. It is 
a fortunate and satisfactory thing for us, that in the actual 
position of all cultivated States, and in the whole present 
Stage of Culture, there are numerous urgent and con 
straining reasons for every Government striving to attain 
the clearest possible insight into the true purpose of the 
State, and acting at all times with all its powers, accor 
ding to the best insight which it has attained. 

In the pursuance of our inquiries, we shall have oppor 
tunities to refer to these reasons. Could such indications 
on our part, and the whole range of inquiries which we 
have begun to-day, contribute anything especially towards 
making the particular Constitution under which we live 
more intelligible, and thereby dearer and more valuable, to 
us, then would one end be attained which belongs to the 
purpose of these lectures. 




To determine at what stage of its development the State 
has arrived in the Present Age, is the problem with which 
we are now occupied, and to solve which we have under 
taken the immediately preceding inquiries and investiga 
tions. We had first of all to declare the mere Form of 
the State ; that is, what is implied in the mere general 
assertion of the existence of the State ; and this we have 
done in our last lecture. Should this investigation have 
appeared to some to be too speculative, so that, on this 
account, it has either never been entirely clear to them, 
or is not now any longer wholly present to their memory, 
this can only arise, in my opinion, from this, that in 
their attempt to comprehend the form of the State their 
attention has been distributed over too large a number of 
Individuals, wholly different from each other in respect of 
their outward qualities ; while at the same time it is requi 
site that this multitude of Individuals should be regarded 
as an indivisible organic Whole. For the Understanding, 
this business of comprehension is not rendered more diffi 
cult by the multitude and variety of these elements ; but 
the Imagination, and still more the common power of 
observation which is accustomed to take cognizance only 
of the peculiarities of Individuals and of Classes, is easily 


tired, unless it has bad a certain amount of practice be 
forehand. Thus, in order to make our ideas perfectly 
clear to those who perchance have not altogether under 
stood our former lecture ; and to bring the whole once 
more at one view before those to whom it may no longer 
be thoroughly present in memory; let us to-day illustrate 
our views by the example of a smaller Community, to 
which, although not itself a State, we may give the form 
of the State, that being all with which we are concerned 
at present. 

Let us suppose a union, perhaps by mutual agreement, 
of several natural families into one, which would thence 
forward be an artificial family. The purpose of such a 
union could be nothing more than to acquire and preserve, 
as far as possible, by their common labour, the means of 
physical existence ; and hence this union would not consti 
tute a State, the State not being an economical society, 
and having a purpose very different from the mere physical 
maintenance of individual life. But let us give to this 
family-union the general form of the State. This is only 
possible in the three following ways : Either all the mem 
bers of the community are bound to apply their whole time 
and ability to labour for the whole number of families 
composing it, so that they cannot occupy themselves with 
aught else ; while, on the other hand, all without ex 
ception have an equal interest in the property and 
enjoyments of the whole ; there being nothing whatever 
belonging to the household which is not the property of 
all, and which would not, were the occasion to arise, actu 
ally be expended for any one. That each should apply 
his whole ability for all the families, I said ; meaning 
thereby, in so far as he possesses such ability. It is not 
allowable that any one should say, I am stronger than 
all the others ; I do more for the common good, and there 
fore I must have something more than others in the divi 
sion of enjoyments; for the union and combination of 


all into one Society is altogether unconditional; that 
this one is the strongest is quite accidental ; were ho the 
weakest he would not be less cared for on that account; 
and were he accidentally to become weak or sick, so that 
he could no longer do anything for the common good, he 
would still be cared for in the same way. Were our sup 
posed family-union organized in this way, it would then 
bear the Absolute form of the State, as it ought to be ac 
cording to Reason, consisting in Equal Rights for All. 

Or : the constitution of our supposed society might be 
thus arranged : that perhaps, for we may leave this 
point undetermined, that perhaps all, without exception, 
are bound to apply all their powers for the purposes of 
the community ; and also that there is no one to whom 
the participation in some portion of what has been ac 
quired by the common labour is not secured ; but that, 
nevertheless, only a few are admitted to partake of what 
ever is most precious and valuable in the produce of the 
common power, while the others are excluded from this 
enjoyment. In 1 this case it would follow, that those who 
are thus excluded have laboured only in part for the whole 
community, and in part not for the whole (to which never 
theless they themselves belong), but only for the few 
favoured individuals ; and hence that they have been, not 
indeed wholly, but yet in this latter respect, only means 
for the attainment of the purpose of these others. This 
arrangement would represent the second possible form of 
the State : Equality of Eight for all, but not Equal Eights. 
Finally, we may conceive of this union of families in the 
following way : that the greater number of its members 
labour with all their powers to acquire a permanent and 
fixed estate, while some neither put their own hand to the 
work, nor direct the labour of others, nor trouble them 
selves in any way whatever about the matter; but only 
come from time to time, and snatch from the property 
accumulated by the labour of the others, whatever is most 


accessible and pleasing to themselves; at most taking 
care that the working part of the community be not 
wholly ruined ; but even this only by their own arbitrary 
choice, since no one can bind them to this foresight. 
This condition of the society would bear the first form of 
the State: the absolute subjugation of the many to the 
selfish purposes of the few, and absolute extinction of 
Rights among all. This would be a picture of the three 
possible fundamental forms of the State which we have 
already enumerated. 

From this constitution of the State and the Personal 
and Civil Freedom which are its necessary elements, we 
carefully distinguished the form of Government and the 
Political Freedom which belongs to it. That which we 
have adduced on this latter subject may likewise be il 
lustrated by our imaginary community. In the supposed 
family-union, all the powers therein united ought to be 
directed to the attainment of the common purpose. This 
can be secured only by one single Will assuming the guid 
ance of the whole application of power, determining at 
all times what ought to be done immediately for the pur 
pose of the community, and what may be deferred ; what 
must be infallibly accomplished, and what may be relin 
quished should sufficient time and ability be wanting for 
its attainment ; a Will which appoints each one his place, 
so that his exertions may not interrupt, but assist and co 
operate with, the labours of others ; a Will, in fine, to 
which each individual unconditionally submits his own 
will in respect to the employment of his powers for the 
purposes of the community. . Whence shall proceed this 
one Will which is to guide all other wills ? Either all 
the members of the community who have attained ma 
ture age assemble together so often as a new resolution is 
needed upon the common interests ; all, without exception, 
express their opinion on the question proposed, so far as 
they understand it ; and, after sufficient general delibera- 


tion, the majority of voices decides the point, to which 
decision all must thenceforward be subject in their out 
ward actions, whatever they may think in their own minds 
of its justice. If the community be constituted in this 
way, then each has by Eight an equal share in the direc 
tion of the common purpose, which direction in the 
State is called Government; and this freedom, which Avith 
reference to the State we call Political Freedom, is thus 
~by Right equally divided among all. By Right, I have 
said, both in the former lecture with reference to the State, 
and in this with reference to the supposed family-union ; 
for should there be any one who is not possessed of any 
opinions upon the common good, or who, if he do possess 
such opinions, yet cannot express them ; then he would 
actually possess little or no influence in the ultimate 
determination of the community ; but he would not be 
excluded from this influence by defect of Right, but only 
by his own incapacity. 

Or, in the second case, the community may have 
made over to a committee composed of a few Individuals, 
or even to one Individual, the superintendence and direc 
tion of the whole ; and in this case they resign their 
own right of direction and judgment in the administration 
of Government, but only so far as outward action is 
concerned, for in thought and speech they are still at 
liberty to do what they will, and unconditionally subject 
their own practically active will to the will of their autho 
rised committee or individual manager. In this method 
of prosecuting the common purpose, there is no place for 
what the State calls Political Freedom, but only the condi 
tion of subjection. Nevertheless, if all without exception 
have an equal share in all the advantages of the com 
munity, and if all the individual powers are directed by 
the best possible insight towards the common good, and 
not towards any private advantage, then the management 
of the community is perfectly legitimate; and it has lost 

180 LEGTUflK XL 

nothing by making over the direction to a few or even to 
one ; but, on the contrary, has gained thereby, since many 
Individuals who could have contributed nothing available 
for the common good in the assembly, are no longer com 
pelled to sacrifice their time in attending there, but may 
instead continue peaceably to practise that which they 

All that has been now illustrated by means of our sup 
posed community, we had already adduced in our former 
lecture upon the form of the State, or upon the question, 
What is implied in the mere existence of a State ? But 
we added at that time, that the position of a particular 
State, or of the State at a particular Epoch of Time, is 
also to be determined by this inquiry, whether, and in 
how far, the true purpose of all States, or whether, and 
in how far, the Material of the State as distinguished from 


its Form, has been attained therein ? We must further 
discuss this Material of the State before we can begin the 
historical inquiry, how the State has gradually attained 
that point of its development upon which, in our opinion, 
it now stands. 

The purpose of the State is, as we have already shown 
in our last lecture, no other than that of the Human Race 
itself : to order all its relations according to the Laws of 
Reason. It is only after the Age of Reason as Knowledge 
shall have been traversed, and we shall have arrived at 
the Age of Reason as Art, that the State can reflect upon 
this purpose with clear consciousness. Till then it con 
stantly promotes this purpose, but without its own know 
ledge or free premeditated design ; prompted thereto by 
the natural law of the development of our Race, even while 
it has a totally different purpose in view; with which 
purpose of its own Nature has indissolubly bound up 
the purpose of the whole Race. This special and natural 
purpose of the State in the earlier Epochs v/hich pre 
cede the Epoch of Reason as Knowledge, is like that of 


individual men, mere self-preservation ; and, as the State 
exists only in the Race, the mere preservation of the 
Race ; and, as the Race develops itself progressively, its 
preservation in each particular stage of that development; 
in both the two last-mentioned cases without the State 
entertaining any clear conception of its purpose. In one 
word, the purpose of the State, i.e. to maintain itself, 
and the purpose of Nature, i.e. to place the Human Race 
under such external conditions as may enable it to form 
itself, by its own free activity, into an express image of 
Reason, wholly coincide ; and while the attainment of the 
former is pursued, the latter is at the same time being 

Let us consider this matter in detail : 

In the intermixture of original Culture and original Bar 
barism, from which intermixture alone a Human Race 
capable of development could arise, the first and immedi 
ate purpose is the reclamation of the savage tribes. Again, 
when we arrive at the first traces of a State, and Freemen 
are permanently subjected to other Freemen according to a 
definite rule, there Culture already exists; artificial Cul 
ture namely produced by civilization, not the original Cul 
ture of the Normal People of which we do not here speak ; 
and we may therefore regard the State, particularly in 
the most perfect form which it has assumed in any given 
Age, as at the same time the seat of the highest Culture of 
that Age. Barbarism stands directly opposed to the pur 
poses of this Culture wherever it comes in contact with 
them, and constantly threatens the existence of the State; 
which thus finds itself, even by the necessity of its own 
preservation, placed in natural war with the surrounding 
Barbarism, and is compelled to use every effort for its 
overthrow, which latter, indeed, can only be thoroughly 
accomplished by bringing the Barbarians themselves under 
the dominion of law and order, and, in so far, cultivating 
them. Thus, while thinking only of itself, the State pro- 


motes indirectly the great purpose of the Human Race. 
This natural war of all States against the surrounding Bar 
barism is of great significance for History : it is this, al 
most exclusively, which introduces a living and progressive 
principle into History. We shall revert to this principle 
at another time, and therefore I entreat you to note this. 
Even after the general dominion of Culture has become so 
powerful that it has nothing more to fear from outward 
Barbarism, after it is perhaps divided from this Bar 
barism by broad oceans, it will nevertheless, impelled by 
an inward necessity, seek out those Barbarians who can no 
longer approach it, in order to appropriate to itself those 
products of their lands which they themselves do not em 
ploy, or those lands themselves ; or it may be, to subdue 
to itself the powers of those Barbarians; in part directly, 
by means of slavery, and in part indirectly, by means of 
unfair and overreaching commerce. However unjust these 
purposes may appear in themselves, yet, by means of them, 
the first characteristic of the World-Plan, i.e. the general 
diffusion of Culture, is gradually promoted; and thus 
will it continually proceed, until the whole Race which 
inhabits our globe shall, according to the same plan, be 
amalgamated into one great republic of Culture. 

A second necessary purpose of the Human Race is, that 
surrounding Nature, which exercises an influence upon its 
existence as well as upon its actions, shall be wholly and 
completely subdued to the jurisdiction of the Understand 
ing. No power of Nature shall prejudice or disturb the 
purposes of Culture, nor be able to destroy the results 
of such purposes ; every manifestation of such power shall 
be ascertainable beforehand, and there shall be known and 
accessible means of preventing any consequent danger. It 
shall be possible to compel every useful power of Nature to 
shape itself to the uses and purposes of men. The powers 
of Man, again, shall be multiplied by an appropriate distri 
bution of the necessary branches of labour among many 


members, each of whom shall acquire only one branch, but 
acquire that one well; these powers shall be armed with 
the knowledge of Nature and of Art, and with convenient 
implements and machinery, and thus be raised superior to 
every power of Nature; so that all the mere earthly pur 
poses of man may be attained without superfluous ex 
penditure of time or labour, and sufficient opportunity 
be left remaining for him to turn his attention upon 
inward and supersensual things. This is the purpose of 
the Human Race as such. 

In the State, the greater the proportion of the time and 
power of its Citizens which it requires and must lay 
claim to for the purpose of its own support, and the 
more thoroughly it seeks to interpenetrate all its mem 
bers and make them the instruments of this purpose, 
the more must it endeavour to multiply and extend the 
means of physical life, by promoting that dominion of 
Man over Nature which we have already described, in 
order that it may thereby secure the existence of its 
Citizens; it must therefore accept all the before-men 
tioned purposes of the Race, and assume them as its 
own, for the sake "of~its own purpose. It will conse 
quently, to adopt the common enumeration of these 
purposes, strive to quicken Industry ; to improve Agri 
culture ; to carry to their highest perfection Manufactures, 
Commerce, and Machinery; and to encourage discoveries 
in the Mechanical Arts and in Natural Science. Let it 
be believed that it does all this only with the view of 
adding to its revenue, and of being enabled to maintain 
a larger army ; let even the Rulers themselves, at least 
for the most part, be unconscious of any higher design; 
it nevertheless promotes, though without its own know 
ledge, the purpose which we have indicated as that of the 
Human Race as such. 

The outward purpose of this dominion of the Race over 
Nature is, as we have said in one of our first lectures, a 


double purpose : Either that Nature may be subjected 
merely to the purpose of rendering our sensuous existence 
more easy and agreeable, whence arise the Mechanical 
Arts ; or that it may be subjected to the higher spiritual 
wants of man, and have stamped upon it the majestic 
image of the Idea, whence arises Fine Art. A State 
which has yet much to fear for its external existence, 
and requires to make great efforts in order to place 
even that in safety, will indeed, so soon as it attains 
the first glimpse of its true interest, study to promote 
in every possible way the Mechanical Arts, in the ex 
tended sense which we have given to them above ; but 
since it does this merely with the view of having at 
command a larger surplus of the national power winch 
it may then employ for the maintenance of its own 
security, it will apply this surplus of power only to that 
purpose, and will have little remaining for the syste 
matic and general promotion of Fine Art, or of still 
higher purposes of Humanity. It is only after the 
State, even for the sake of its own self-preservation, 
has subjected Nature to the mechanical uses of its 
Citizens, and made these Citizens themselves, and all of 
them equally, its instruments in the highest possible 
degree; after the whole empire of Culture has entered 
into such relations with that of Barbarism, and the 
particular States into which the former may be divided 
have entered into such relations with each other, that 
no one need any longer be anxious about his external 
security ; it is only after this has taken place, that the 
question arises, To what should the surplus of national 
power, rendered superfluous by the mechanical elabora 
tion of Nature, which surplus of power has hitherto 
been devoted to the security of the State, and stands 
entirely under the authority of the State, as all the 
Citizens do ; to what shall this surplus of power be 
applied ? and there can be no other answer given to 


this question than that it should be devoted to Fine 
Art. During War, Art can scarcely exist, far less ad 
vance with sure step and according to a settled plan ; 
the time of War, however, is not limited to the period 
when War is actually carried on ; hut the general in 
security of all men with respect to each other, and the 
constant state of preparation for War resulting from 
this, is itself War ; and has almost the same consequences 
for the Human Race as active War. Only real, that is 
permanent, Peace, can be the parent of Art as we under 
stand that word. 

I said that only after the State has attained to perfect 
external security, the question arises, to what the surplus 
of national power, now no longer necessary for the pur 
poses to which it was previously directed, should be 
applied. This question is also one which is obviously 
forced upon the State by the purposes of self-preserva 
tion ; since, from such a considerable mass of power, 
undirected and uncomputed, and which nevertheless 
cannot by possibility remain wholly quiescent, nothing 
is to be expected but disturbances and hindrances to 
the State in the prosecution of its prescribed plans, and 
therefore the breaking up of its internal peace ; and 
thus it is obvious that, in all those respects to which 
we have adverted, the State stands under a higher 
guidance, concealed it may be from itself; and that 
while, in its own belief, it is merely pursuing its special 
purpose of self-preservation, it is nevertheless, at the 
same time, promoting the higher purpose of the develop 
ment of the Human Race. 

For the rest : It is only for the sake of completeness 
that we have introduced this latter point ; namely, how 
and under what external conditions the State is compelled, 
even in providing for its own preservation, to adopt the 
general and universally accessible form of Fine Art, as its 
own purpose : not by any means as indicating that this 

a a 


consideration belongs to the characteristics of the Present, 
or of any preceding Age. Should this latter assertion 
surprise any one who thinks of the loud talk about Art, 
and the promotion of Art, current in the present day 
even among our great men, we would entreat such an 
one to consider that this talk cannot have escaped us ; 
that as little can it have escaped us that twice, first, 
by a peculiar concourse of circumstances, among which 
one at least can never re-appear, and a second time, 
from the Christian Church, there has burst forth a 
morning-dawn of Art, the beams of which continue to 
illumine our present day though with a reflected splen 
dour; but that nevertheless the expression Fine Art, 
and particularly a Fine Art pervading the whole nation 
and every branch of its activity, has with us a signi 
fication quite different from the common one; of which 
meaning we have here neither time nor opportunity to 
give such a full account as is requisite for its proper 

Thus far, and no farther, extends the legitimate pro 
motion of the purposes of Reason by means of the State 
while the latter appears to be occupied solely with the pursuit 
of its own purpose. The higher branches of the Culture of 
Reason, Religion, Science, Virtue, can never become 
purposes of the State. Not Religion : We do not here 
speak of the superstitious fear of God as a Being hostile 
to man, which ancient nations conjured up from their 
own thoughts in order that they might propitiate this 
dreadful Being in name of the nation and so establish 
National Religions : with this we have nothing to do 
at present. The True Religion is as old as creation, 
and therefore older than any State. It was one of the 
arrangements of that Providence which watches over 
the development of our Race that this True Religion 
should, at the proper time, reappear from out the ob 
scurity in which it had previously lain concealed, and 


spread itself over the realm of Culture ; asserting even 
beforehand the claim that the State should have no power 
over it, and exacting from the Rulers, as the condition of 
their reception into the bosom of this Religion, the acknow 
ledgment of their submission to God and the equality of 
all men in his sight ; and devolving its preservation and ex 
tension upon a society in so far wholly independent of the 
State, i.e. the Church. So it must necessarily remain, 
for the Rulers can never shut themselves up from the 
need of Religion ; and so will it remain to the end of 
Time. As little can Science ever become a purpose of the 
State. From this remark there is to be excluded, as an 
exception to the general rule, whatever Individuals, Rulers, 
or partakers in the Government may do on account of 
their own connexion with Science or Art, or their in 
terest therein. But with respect to the regular and ordi 
nary course of things, the more the State approaches 
the perfection of its Form, the more it makes its Citizens 
entirely the instruments of its purpose, so much the 
more must it be estranged from Science, strictly so 
called, which is elevated far above common life and 
has no direct influence thereon, and must even come 
to regard it as a useless expenditure of time and power, 
which might be more profitably devoted to the imme 
diate service of the State ; and thus the phrase mere 
Speculation will become more and more a sure term of 
reprobation. It might indeed easily be proved that no 
one can be a thoroughly useful servant of the State, capable 
at all times of passing from established custom to new 
truth, who has not first been trained in the school of 
severe Science. But the insight into this truth pre 
supposes either the possession of Science itself; or, should 
this be awanting, a self-denial which cannot reasonably 
be exacted. In this position of matters Science may 
consider itself fortunate enough if it be tolerated by the 
State ; either through inconsequence, or from the hope 


that the barren Speculation may, at one time or other, 
lead to some useful discovery ; or from receiving the 
protection of the Church ; or even that of Medicine, 
since every man would willingly live as long and enjoy 
as good health as possible. 

Finally, Virtue can be no object of the State. Virtue is 
the constant and all-directing Good-will which strives to 
promote with all its power the purposes of the Human 
Race; and in the State particularly to promote these pur 
poses in the way prescribed by it; the desire and love to 
do this, and an unconquerable aversion to any other course 
of action. But the State, in its essential character of a 
compulsive power, calculates upon the absence of Good- will, 
and therefore upon the absence of Virtue, and upon the 
presence of Evil- will; it supplies the want of the former, 
and represses the out-break of the latter, by fear of 
punishment. Strictly confining itself to this sphere, it 
has no need to calculate upon Virtue, nor to take it into 
account for the accomplishment of its purposes. Were all 
its members virtuous it would lose its character of a 
compulsive power altogether, and become the mere Leader, 
Guide, and true Counsellor of the willing. 

Nevertheless the State, by its mere existence, conduces to 
the possibility of a general development of Virtue through 
out the Human Race, although, strictly considered, it 
does not expressly make this its purpose except as con 
cealed under another form, by the production of external 
good manners and morality, which indeed are yet far off 
from Virtue. Under a Legislation which should strictly and 
systematically embrace every possible crime against the out 
ward Rights of the Citizens, and under an Administration 
from which actual crime could seldom or never conceal itself 
or escape the punishment threatened by the Law, every 
thought of crime, as something wholly vain and leading to 
nothing but certain punishment, would at once be stifled in 
its birth. When the Nation had lived in peace and quietness 


for a series of Ages under this constitution, and new gene 
rations had been born and had grown to manhood beneath 
its sway, and from them again younger races had arisen ; 
then the habit even of inward temptation to injustice would 
gradually disappear altogether; and men would live with 
each other peacefully and justly, without the outward ap 
pearance of the least Evil-will, exactly as if all were vir 
tuous of heart ; while it might still perhaps be only Law 
which restrained them, although now with a silent and 
gentle authority ; and in moments when its dominion 
should be cast off we might witness very different scenes. 

Let us not be afraid like certain reasoners, who also 
assume the name of Philosophers, and who recognise in 
Virtue nothing but a mere negation, and can only conceive 
of it as the opposite of crime, let us not be afraid that 
in such a state of society Virtue should be no longer 
possible. If these reasoners speak of outward actions 
in society which shall even surpass the Law of the 
State, and which may perhaps spring from inward Vir 
tue, perhaps from other motives; then are they quite 
right; for, in the Perfect State the virtuous man finds 
everything relating to society which he himself loves 
arid desires to do already outwardly commanded ; and 
everything which he detests and would never consent 
to do already outwardly forbidden : in this State it is 
impossible to go beyond what is commanded, and thus 
it can never be determined, from the outward action 
itself, whether a man has done right from Love of 
Goodness or from Fear of Punishment, with his own 
free consent or against his will. But Virtue does not 
need this outward recognition ; it rests in its own Love of 
Goodness without reference to what is commanded, and in 
its own aversion to Evil without reference to what is for 
bidden ; it is sufficient for itself, and is supremely blessed 
in its own consciousness of rectitude. 

And so it must be at once admitted, that, through the 


perfection of all the relations of the Human Race, and in 
particular through the perfection of that relation which 
includes within itself all the others, i.e. the State, all 
voluntary Sacrifice, all Heroism, all Self-denial, in short, 
all that we are wont to admire in man, becomes super- 
fluous; and only the Love of Goodness, as the one im 
perishable Virtue, remains. To this Love man can only 
raise himself with Freedom ; or rather its flame will 
kindle spontaneously in every soul which has first eradi 
cated from itself the Desire of Evil. The State can, at 
furthest, facilitate the development of this Love, inas 
much as it scares back the nascent desire of Evil into 
the secret depths of the breast, accords it no point of 
vantage, but counts it as mere idle hindrance. He in 
whose soul this flame of Heavenly Love is kindled, how 
ever constrained he may seem to mere outward appear 
ance, yet in inward Freedom and independence rises even 
superior to the State ; the State does not give a Law 
to his will, but its Law accidentally accords with his will 
because it is a perfect Law. This Love, as it is the only 
imperishable Virtue, and the only Blessedness, so is it also 
the only True Freedom ; and only through it can man 
rise superior to the bondage of the State, as well as to 
all other bondage which oppresses and confines him 
here below. Happy is it for Mankind that they have 
not to wait for the slowly advancing perfection of the 
State in order to attain this Love ; but that in all Ages, 
and under all circumstances, every Individual of our Race 
may freely raise himself to its possession ! 

(191 ) 



As a preparative to the solution of the problem with which 
we are more immediately occupied, What point of its 
development has the State attained in our own Age ? 
we have shown, in our last two lectures, though only in 
the abstract and by speculative reasoning, what the 
State, both in its Form and its Material, really is; and 
through what stages and elements of progress it grad 
ually advances towards its perfection. This delineation, 
which must have been somewhat tedious in itself, 
acquired an interest from the purpose we had in view ; 
this, namely, to render what is to follow thoroughly 
intelligible to you. We have now to give life to this 
general picture, by summoning to your recollection the 
actual events of History ; with the view of enabling you 
to discover for yourselves what is new, original, and peculiar 
in the constitution and government of existing States ; and 
thus, wherein the political character of our Age, as distin 
guished from all other Ages, consists. We have already suf 
ficiently explained the nature of our view and treatment of 
History in a special lecture; out of which lecture we find it 
necessary here to remind you of only one thing, namely, 
that our remarks upon History do not lay claim to the 
character of historical principles themselves, but are 


merely designed to open up questions and problems for 
proper historical investigation. And we add, as a new 
and farther limitation, that we shall confine ourselves 
to the simple and obvious traces of civilization which 
have come down to us ; employing only our own His 
tory, that of civilized Europe, as the existing domain 
of Culture ; passing by other adjoining civilizations, 
which may indeed have had a common origin with our 
own, but which cannot now be referred back to such 
an origin and have no direct influence upon ourselves; 
for example, the civilizations of China and of India. 

We have already set forth as the beginning of all social 
combination, the occurrence of this fact ; namely, that 
Freemen became subject, to a certain extent and in a certain 
respect, to the will of other Freemen. How and in what 
way has this subjugation been brought about? this is 
the first question which here forces itself upon our 
notice. This question is intimately connected with that 
respecting the origin of inequality among men, which 
has become so famous in our own day, and which we 
shall by no means solve in the way in which it has 
been solved by a writer who has gained great celebrity 
on this account.* 

According to our system, which we have already set 
forth, and which may be fully proved in the strict domain 
of Philosophy, we find an original inequality among 
men, and indeed the greatest possible inequality; namely, 
between the Normal People existing as a pure mani 
festation of Reason on the one hand; and the wild 
and savage Races of Barbarism on the other. In what 
way these primitive ingredients of our Human Race 
were first mingled together, no History can inform us ; 
for the very existence of a History presupposes such an 
intermixture as having already taken place. In this 



condition of intermixture, even the descendant of the 
Normal People the partaker of their primitive Cul 
turefirst became aware of the demand upon him for an 
entirely new Cultivation, not necessarily included in that 
primitive Culture ; namely, the cultivation of the power 
of imparting his Culture to others, and thus creating for 
himself an extensive field of influence and activity. It 
does not follow that all such descendants of the Normal 
People made equal progress in this new art, or were 
even capable of so doing ; but each individual would 
develop this art in himself as his own character might 
permit : as little does it follow that those who remained 
behind in this progress, and could not so easily lay 
aside their innocence and simplicity, were on that account 
worse than those who found it easy to enter into the 
crooked byways of corrupt and depraved Races, or to 
employ force against them ; but it does follow that the 
latter, and not the former, would be the Counsellors, 
Leaders, and Governors, and that with the free consent 
and good-will of the former, who in such a state of things 
would not grudge them this privilege, but would willingly 
retire into silence and obscurity. 

An outward circumstance should be mentioned here, 
which, in our opinion, is of the greatest importance in 
History the possession of metals, and the art of their most 
suitable application: of metals, I say, and I beg that you 
will not suppose that I mean gold alone. How the know 
ledge of these metals first arose, and how they were first 
brought forth from the bowels of the earth and changed 
into the new arid unexpected forms imposed upon them by 
art; with this inquiry, in our opinion, no History need 
trouble itself; such knowledge undoubtedly existed anterior 
to all History, arid from the very beginning of the world, 
as a possession of the Normal People; which possession, 
after the intermixture with Barbarism, the skilful knew 
how to employ wholly otherwise than the simple. The 



value which these metals would acquire by their dura 
bility, by their usefulness in strengthening the feeble 
powers of man, and by the difficulty of discovering them ; 
and in particular, the dreadful importance which they 
would acquire in the hands of those who first converted 
them into destructive weapons, is sufficiently apparent in 
itself. Indeed these metals are found to be, from the very 
commencement of History, the most universally coveted 
commodities ; they are even to the present day the most 
highly prized things which the civilized man can bring 
to the savage ; and the perfecting of arms, and the 
fabrication of newer and more efficient instruments of 
murder out of these metals, is an actual phase of de 
velopment in our whole History ! 

By means of these two principles, there could now ensue 
the subjugation, under one or more leaders, of the inhabi 
tants of those countries throughout which the Normal 
People were in the first instance dispersed, unmixed with 
the Barbarians at the outset although surrounded by them. 
Whether they were at first united for the purposes of 
active warfare only against the wild animals, or against 
the Savages not as yet subjected to the purposes of 
Culture ; still this union could occur only on the supposi 
tion of the need of such a warfare. The Ruler would not 
be under the necessity of expending any peculiar care on 
the maintenance or preservation of his subjects, who being 
themselves descended from the cultivated race could pro 
vide for their own support had they only external peace : 
as little would he be called upon to make large demands 
upon their energies and labour, since their union had only 
a temporary and easily attainable purpose in view. Soon, 
however, this simple relation became more complex. The 
power of governing others, possessed by the Ruler, of 
legislating for them, particularly of legislating for them 
through the agency of others, became an object of ambi 
tion, and in proportion as the capacities of those who 


were at first willing and obedient subjects were developed, 
they must have begun to regard with envious eyes the 
power of government exercised over them by other men. 
Thus communities united by common descent, and in 
habiting a common country, separated themselves from 
the general mass, and, when fortune favoured them, some 
times even attained a dominion over the whole. 

In this manner had the State, in our opinion, its begin 
ning in Central Asia, as the cradle of the historical exis 
tence of the Human Race. He who first subjected the 
will of other Freemen to his own in this quarter of the 
World, may indeed have been, according to a well-known 
tradition, a mighty hunter ; but the troops of men once 
assembled, were afterwards employed for other purposes 
than the chase. At a later time, Assyrians, Medes, Per 
sians, and other nations whose names are unknown to us, 
made their appearance upon this stage, and one after 
another assumed the sovereignty over their former Rulers, 
as well as over their former companions in servitude. It 
is only of these governing nations and of their chief leaders 
that History makes mention : of the subdued, and those 
who never attained to sovereignty, of their knowledge, 
their domestic relations, their manners, their Culture, 
she is silent ; their existence passed away in obscurity, 
unnoticed by Political History. That these nations, how 
ever, may have been essentially not worse, but probably 
far superior to their conquerors, is proved, by the history 
of civilization among the Jews who for the first time 
during their dispersion among these people were emanci 
pated from their former rude superstition and elevated to 
better conceptions of God and of the Spiritual World ; 
by that of the Greeks who acknowledge that they have re 
ceived the sublimest elements of their philosophy from 
these countries; and finally, bv the history of Christianity 
which, according to a previous remark, ascribes to itself 
not a Jewish but an Asiatic origin. The greatest share 


in the public undertakings, as well as the honour arising 
from them, fell to the lot of the governing people ; the 
members of the subdued nations being generally excluded 
from all participation in the government ; but the ruling 
power was still far from being even thoroughly acquaint 
ed with all the powers of the governed, and still farther 
from being able to lay claim to their services without 
limitation or forbearance. That the so-called great King 
of the Persians, the ruler of this immense territory and of 
these countless nations, was yet almost wholly unaided by 
them is evident from the long series of years which were 
requisite to complete the armament against Greece; and 
still more from the disgraceful result of that expedition. 

This condition of things was, in our opinion, the first 
form of the State: The subjugation of free nations for 
certain purposes of a governing nation ; not as yet a com 
plete subjugation proceeding upon any regular and fixed 
rule ; but only as suggested by the pressure of necessity, 
the facility of enforcing it, or the accidental presence of 
a satrap or a pacha; in other respects combined with 
perfect freedom or at all events with anarchy in their 
other relations on the part of the governed people : or 
in one word, DESPOTISM; the essential nature of which 
does not consist in mere barbarity of conduct, but only in 
the existence of a governing race, and of subdued nations 
excluded from participation in the government and, with 
reference to the means of their subsistence, left wholly to 
themselves; whose participation in the burdens of this 
relation is determined only by caprice and not by rule, as 
is also the case with the direction of civil policy and 
legislation ; there being consequently no established law 
whatsoever: Despotism, as this relation still exists in 
Europe, under the eye of the observer, in the Turkish 
Empire which, amid the general progress of surrounding 
nations, remains to this moment in the very earliest Epoch 
of the development of the State. 


In Europe, originally the seat of Barbarism, the State 
had its commencement in efforts for the accomplishment 
of another object. Here it was not whole masses of the 
descendants of the Normal People who became intermixed 
with the savage Races, but only a few individuals banished 
from the realm of Culture already existing in Asia, per 
haps with few followers and without hope of return ; 
among whom I shall call to mind only Cecrops, Cadmus, 
Pelops, many other names being now lost to History. 
Well skilled in all the Arts and Sciences of the ancient 
oriental world, provided with un wrought metals, with arms 
and implements of husbandry, perhaps with useful seeds, 
plants, and domestic animals, they landed first on the 
coasts which at a later period bore the name of Greece, 
amid imbecile Savages who with difficulty maintained 
their existence, who perhaps had not yet abandoned can 
nibalism, and who, according to historical narrative, had 
certainly not yet abandoned human sacrifices ; in exactly 
the same way as an English Colony at the present day 
might, with better intentions, make a permanent settle 
ment in New Zealand. By gifts ; by the communication 
of many advantages, and instruments whereby the means 
of subsistence might be more easily acquired ; by the 
storing up of food for all from one harvest to another ; 
these colonists attracted the Savages and gathered them 
around themselves ; by their means erected towns, and in 
these held them together ; introduced more humane man 
ners, and established customs which gradually assumed the 
character of laws ; and thus imperceptibly became their 
rulers. As these strangers came accompanied only by 
their own families, or at all events by few attendants, they 
could neither superintend nor unite around them large 
masses. Moreover there came, from time to time, other 
emigrants like themselves, who in the same manner foun 
ded states in other localities ; and thus it happened thafc 
in this, the first cultivated region of Europe, there arose, 


not a great and widely extended empire as in Asia, hut a 
number of small neighbouring states. It was impossible 
for them to avoid engaging in war with those Savages who 
made inroads upon their borders and disturbed their 
undertakings ; those who could not be expelled would 
be forced into servitude, and thus Slavery in this region 
may have arisen. 

The free subjects of these new States were, even from 
the commencement, treated with kindness, and afterwards 
carefully instructed and trained; not, as in Asia, under the 
government of a dominant race, but for the most part 
under that of a single foreign famity, whose lives were 
at all times open to the inspection of their subjects : 
these subjects would doubtless not be blindly satisfied with 
all the demands and arrangements of their Rulers, but 
would examine for themselves how these tended to the 
general welfare ; and therefore the Ruler would be under 
the necessity of maintaining towards them a circumspect 
and upright course of conduct. And out of these circum 
stances there arose, for the first time, that keen sense 
of Right, which in our opinion is the true characteristic 
of the European nations, in contrast with the religious 
submissiveness to authority which is peculiar to the 

These governing families at length lost their authority 
over the remoter public undertakings, or they died out, or 
were banished ; and thus, since the ideas of Right were 
already pretty generally diffused, Republics naturally arose 
in place of the previous petty Monarchies. We have 
nothing here to do with the form of Government, or the 
Political Freedom of these States. In the popular poli 
tical belief of the Greeks, the essential was confounded 
with the accidental, and the end with the means; 
King and Tyrant were synonymous words, and the me 
mory of their ancient ruling families was only regarded 
with terror : a confusion which has even come down to 


us, their latest political descendants, and against which 
we have here guarded ourselves by the preceding 
distinctions. This, I say, does not concern us at present: 
what the Greeks sought, and what they obtained, 
was Equality of Right for all Citizens. In a certain 
sense, we might even say Equality of Rights, for there 
was no race favoured by the constitution more than 
another; but there existed a great inequality of power, 
which indeed arose only by accident and not by the con 
stitution of the State, but which nevertheless the State 
could not remedy; and in so far there did not exist 
Equality of Rights. 

In this way, that which we have set forth as the second 
stage in the development of the State, Equality of 
Right for all, has arisen in Europe ; not by a previous 
passage through the first stage, that of Despotism, but 
only because the State began its existence in Greece 
under other conditions than those amid which it first 
appeared in Central Asia. 

In a still wider circle and under the most interesting 
circumstances, was this condition of Equality of Right 
developed in the second country of Europe which be 
came civilized, namely, in Italy. Here, in our opinion, 
the first founders of civilization were not individual 
families, as in the early history of Greece, but actual 
Colonies; that is, assemblages of many families from 
Ancient Greece. Where these Colonies remained by 
themselves, as occurred in Southern Italy, forming ex 
clusive States out of elements furnished by their own 
people, they were but a mere continuation of Grecian 
existence, and had nothing new about them ; and on 
that account have no place in our inquiry. But where 
these Colonies mingled with the savage native tribes and 
joined with them in the formation of States, as occurred in 
Central Italy, wholly new phenomena necessarily ensued. 
By exactly the same means which were employed by the 


individual emigrants in Greece, and which enabled them 
gradually to assume the government in that country, did 
the whole race of the Colonists here acquire authority and 
power among the Savages with whom they associated 
themselves ; and whatever political arrangements these 
Colonists might have introduced among themselves, there 
arose nevertheless, so far as the natives were concerned, 
an Aristocratic Government. The ancient manners and 
even the original language of the country were changed 
by the new coiners. The Colonists became the ruling 
Tribe just as we found ruling Nations in Central Asia. 
Here also, as in Asia, an extensive empire might have 
arisen, had not new Colonies arrived while yet the first 
Colonists had scarcely been able to cultivate sufficiently 
for their purposes the natives who had been already 
subdued, and these new Colonies again subjugated other 
sections of the original inhabitants. So long as the 
Aristocracy were not forced to dwell too closely under the 
eye of their subjects ; so long as they were not urged by 
necessity to lay upon the latter burdens which were beyond 
their strength, and these latter were not compelled by the 
same necessity to resist them, matters might remain in 
this position. As soon as these conditions were at an 
end, a strife between the two parties was inevitable. 
In one of the States composed of these two ingredients 
in the population of Central Italy in Rome, namely 
the conditions under which alone this state of things 
was tolerable first disappeared. "We here lay aside the 
consideration that at first Rome was governed by Kings: 
these Kings always belonged to the Aristocratic races 
who were scattered over the whole of Central Italy; 
they were in fact the heads of the Aristocracy, and fell 
as soon as they attempted aught against it. Thus 
much however is clear, that in Rome there were from 
the first two leading classes of Citizens : the Patricians, 
or descendants of the Aristocratic colonist-races, and the 


Plebeians, or descendants of the aboriginal inhabitants of 
Italy. These two most dissimilar ingredients we see 
crowded together within the narrow limits of a city, 
constantly exposed to the observation of each other, and 
shut up from the possibility of extension on any side 
by the universal and well-deserved hatred of the neigh 
bouring States ; in this emergency, the Aristocracy 
firmly combining amongst themselves, and desirous of 
living at the expense of the People whom they treated 
like slaves ; this People, on the other hand, rising 
against them, but yet, with the true European national 
sense of Right, not desiring the subjugation of the 
oppressors, but only Equal Rights and Equal Laws; the 
Aristocracy, again, in need of the strength of these People 
for the defence of the State against outward enemies, and 
hence conceding, under the pressure of necessity, what, 
when the necessity was past, they would willingly have 
recalled : and thus arising a struggle of several centuries 
duration between these two parties ; which began with 
the Aristocracy declaring all affinity with the families 
of the People to be a degrading contamination, and 
refusing to the People, by denial of the privileges 
of the Auspices, all portion in the sympathy of the 
Gods; and ended by this same Aristocracy sharing 
the posesssion of the highest dignites of the State with 
men from the ranks of the People, and being com 
pelled to admit that these offices were as beneficially and 
ably filled by the latter as by themselves. Nevertheless 
the Aristocracy could not for many centuries forget 
their former Privileges, and neglected no opportunity of 
again overreaching the People ; who, on the other hand, 
scarcely ever failed to find the means of protection : 
and this endured until all power fell into the hands of 
a single individual, and both combatants were at once 
and in like manner subdued. In this contest, prolonged 
for many centuries, between the effort for Equal Rights 

c a 

202 LECTURE xir. 

maintained with the greatest ability, and the claims of 
Privilege sustained with no less ability, there arose a 
proficiency in civil legislation and in the internal and 
external administration of the State, and an almost per 
fect comprehension of all the possible expedients by which 
the laws might be evaded, such as were possessed by no 
nation before the Romans ; so that we ourselves have still 
much to learn from them in this department. 

Here, too, we have Equality of Right secured in the 
most skilful manner; bat as yet no Equal Rights; partly 
on account of the restless struggles of the Aristocracy, and 
partly on account of accidental circumstances, which the 
constitution was unable to remove. 

We remarked in a former lecture that the State regards 
itself as the exclusive realm of Culture, and in this 
character stands in natural warfare with Barbarism. 
So long as Humanity received but a one-sided Culture 
in different States, it was to be expected that each 
particular State should deem its own Culture the true 
and only civilization, and regard that of other States as 
mere Barbarism, and their inhabitants as Savages ; 
and thus feel itself called upon to subdue them. In 
this way a war might easily arise between the three 
great States of the ancient world which we have men 
tioned ; and indeed a real and typical war, a war of 
subjugation. In the first place, with respect to the Grecian 
States; they at an early period constituted themselves 
as Greeks, that is, as a nation united together by 
definite views of Civic and Political Rights, by a common 
language, feasts and oracles, and by means of a national 
confederacy and national Rights universally recognised 
among themselves, constituted themselves as Greeks, I 
say, into a peculiar realm of Culture from which they 
excluded all other nations under the name of Barbarians. 
If, notwithstanding this confederacy, they allowed them 
selves to engage in war with each other, still these wars 


were conducted in a manner different from those against 
the Barbarians ; they were prosecuted with moderation 
and forbearance, and never to the extinction of either 
State. If, at a later period, the two Republics who 
occupied the first rank in Greece were divided even in 
their policy towards foreign nations, and made war on 
each other on that account; still the Greeks were again 
united in one purpose by the Macedonian Hero, so as to 
play out their own peculiar part in the drama of World- 
History. Their Culture was wholly for the State and its 
purposes, Legislation, Government, War by land and 
seaj anc l i n this they unquestionably far excelled their 
natural opponents in Asia. Among the latter, however, 
the true Religion lay concealed, unknown perhaps to the 
ruling nation themselves; and to this the Greeks were 
never able to attain. What it was in particular which 
entitled the predominant nation of the East, the Per 
sians, to arrogate for themselves a superiority over the 
Greeks at the time when this antagonism broke forth 
into open rupture, is not quite clear ; but it is certain 
that they did regard the latter as Barbarians, i.e. as a 
people far inferior to themselves in the arts of political 
existence and the science of their application; and in 
deed it would not otherwise have occurred to them to 
attempt the subjugation of Greece. 

Invasion followed on the part of the Greeks, and the 
Asiatic dominion was destroyed ; a conquest which must 
have been easily accomplished by the first nation of actual 
Citizens, over an empire wherein there was properly but 
one race possessed of true freedom and enjoying real citi 
zenship; while the rest were mere subjects, to whom, after 
the fall of their leaders who fought only for their own 
dominion, it might be a matter of indifference into whose 
hands the supreme authority fell, which they in their own 
person were wholly unaccustomed to exercise. 

In the meantime the acquired supremacy of the Greeks 


in Asia did not produce those farther revolutionary conse 
quences which might have been anticipated ; the spirit 
of the conquerors, which alone might have been capable 
of holding together this immense empire and of mould 
ing it according to the Grecian Ideal, forsook its ancient 
abode, and the victorious generals divided the conquered 
countries as a spoil among themselves. As each had an 
equal right, or want of right, to the whole, there arose 
endless wars between these new kingdoms, with alternate 
expulsions and restorations of the reigning families, leav 
ing little time for the cultivation of the arts of peace, 
and producing universal enervation. The old common 
Fatherland was, at the same time, depopulated by the 
emigration of its young and warlike manhood to the 
military service of these Kings, and thus rendered 
powerless for its own undertakings ; so that after all, 
the commencement of the supremacy of the Greeks was 
also the beginning of their fall. Scarcely a single signi 
ficant result of this event has found a place in World- 
History, excepting this: that thereby the Greek Language 
was spread over all Asia ; a circumstance which greatly 
helped the subsequent diffusion of Christianity through 
out Asia, and from thence into other lands; further, 
that in consequence of this squandering of strength and 
energy in internal wars, the conquest and peaceful occu 
pation of all these countries was made an easy matter for 
the Romans. 

It was these Romans who united in one State the 
Culture which had now been produced by the inter 
mixture of different races, and who thereby completed 
the period of Ancient Time and closed the simple course 
of Ancient Civilization. With respect to its influence 
on Universal History, this nation, more than any other, 
was the blind and unconscious instrument for the 
furtherance of a higher World-Plan, since it had formed 
itself, as indicated above, into a most fit and proper 


instrument for that purpose. These Romans had no 
thought of diffusing Culture by means of the subjugation 
of other nations : mindful of their own obscure begin 
ning, they were scarcely conscious of their real superiority 
in the art of government, which indeed was of slow and 
gradual development; nay, with simple and true-hearted 
candour they styled themselves Barbarians, and were 
ever ready to adopt, so far as their own circumstances 
admitted, the arts and manners of foreign nations with 
whom they became acquainted. At first the pressure 
of the neighbouring Italian States and nations, and then 
the fear of the advancing power of the Carthaginians, 
had made them able warriors ; while by their internal 
quarrels they had acquired in great perfection, even at an 
earlier period, that policy which enabled them to direct 
and order their military power. After victory had freed 
them from uneasiness on account of foreign enemies, 
their own leaders began to seek war for its own sake. 
In order that they might be enabled to distinguish 
themselves, and rise above the crowd ; to replenish their 
treasuries exhausted by feasts given to the toiling people; 
to withdraw the attention of the Citizens from the 
constant internal machinations of the Aristocracy, by 
directing it towards foreign affairs, triumphal processions, 
and captive monarchs, war soon came to be prosecuted 
without intermission and as a matter of necessity; for 
only by external war could internal peace be secured. 
After the conquest of the realms of Ancient Culture by 
the Romans, new conquests among the Barbarians being 
far more difficult to accomplish,- there remained no 
other means of preservation for the State than the sub 
jugation of both the contending parties to the dominion 
of a single power. It could be no difficult task for the 
Romans to subdue the enfeebled nations of the former 
Macedonian monarchy who were united by no permanent 
tie to their Rulers; and Ancient Greece, no less enfeebled, 


would fall into the arms of the conquerors all the more 
readily that they spared its inhabitants everything which 
they valued, even their vanity. 

By means of this universal dominion of the Romans, 
there were spread abroad over the whole civilized world 
Civil Freedom, participation in Civil Rights for all free- 
born men, Justice according to a fixed law, Financial 
Administration upon settled principles, actual care for 
the existence of the people, milder and more humane 
manners, respect for the customs, the religion, and the 
ways of thinking of other nations : all this in consti 
tutional theory at least, although these principles might 
sometimes be repudiated in the actual administration of 

This was the fulness, the maturity of Ancient Civiliza 
tion : a state of Right, at least in form ; to which Hu 
manity must first be raised before a new development 
could begin. Scarcely, however, had Humanity attained 
this state, than this new development appeared. The 
True Religion of the Normal People, hitherto preserved 
in an obscurity which concealed it from the eye of His 
tory, now came forth to the open day, and spread itself 
almost unimpeded over the realm of Culture which was 
now fortunately embraced in one single State. It was 
among the first maxims of this State to take no note 
of the religious opinions of subject nations; and thus it 
was impossible that it should thoroughly understand this 
Religion, and foresee the consequent fate which awaited 
itself. Had not the new Religion been accidentally placed 
in antagonism to the worship offered to the statues of 
the Emperors, it might undoubtedly have long remained 
unnoticed by the State. 

In the contest which arose upon this ground the new 
Religion finally attained even the outward victory, and 
became the predominant Religion of the State. But as 
the State did not produce the Religion, nor the Religion 


give birth to the State, it remained a foreign ingredient 
in the Constitution, which was never penetrated by its 
spirit. It was necessary that this Religion should itself 
become the creative principle of a new State ; and hence 
the old Constitution, which was incapable of assuming 
a new form, must be destroyed ; elements, which ap 
parently for this very purpose had lain concealed in 
darkness far removed even from the eye of History, 
must now come into play ; for thus only could the new 
Creation, of which we have hereafter to speak, enter 
on its appointed work. 

( 209 ) 



THE one True Religion, or Christianity, must and ought 
to become the creative and governing principle of a new 
State : this we announced at the close of our last Lecture. 
Such was the actual course of events, and thereby arose 
an entirely New Era. 

Before commencing the inquiry for which we have thus 
opened the way, and upon which we are now to enter, we 
must first of all direct your attention to one remark of the 
highest importance in any historical survey; namely, that 
it is only by a very slow and tardy course that the great 
events of History develop themselves and become visible 
in their results. The historical inquirer who, with regard 
to such an event, does not know how to anticipate experi 
ence, and to supply what is wanting in foresight by means 
of the laws of human development, possesses only fragments 
torn from their connexion which he can never understand, 
being without a knowledge of the organic whole to which 
they belong. This is the case with the whole History of 
Modern Times, the true principle of which is the mani 
festation of Christianity. That the Old Time has passed 
away, and that we stand above its grave amid an in 
tricate and wonderful concourse of new elements, any 
one may observe by merely opening his eyes ; but what 

d a 


this concourse of elements may signify, and to what it 
may tend, cannot be understood by mere external ob 
servation, but only by deeper insight. According to our 
opinion, which we have already frankly declared in 
another place, Christianity has never yet attained a 
general and public existence in its purity and truth ; 
although it has, at all times, attained a true life here 
and there in individual minds. But this is not incon 
sistent with the assertion which we also make, that it 
has had an active and efficient life in History, in prepar 
ing the way for itself and in bringing about the conditions 
necessary to its public existence. He who possesses a mere 
historical knowledge of this preliminary activity, but is 
ignorant of its real nature and tendency, necessarily 
confounds the accidental with the essential and the 
means with the end ; and he can never arrive at a true 
comprehension even of this preliminary activity itself. 
The part which Christianity has to play in the History 
of the World, for of this only have we now to speak, 
is not yet concluded; and whoever cannot enter into 
the meaning of the whole vast Drama should not pre 
sume to pass any judgment upon it. In like mariner, to 
avail ourselves of a kindred example, the part which has 
been assigned to the Reformation in human History, of 
which we have already had occasion to speak in a very 
limited connexion, is by no means concluded. 

After this preliminary remark, the application of which 
will soon become apparent, let us now proceed to our task. 
Christianity itself must and ought to become the gover 
ning or creative principle of the State as exemplified in a 
New Era. We must, in the first place, answer this ques 
tion, In what way can Christianity accomplish this, and 
on what ground does it rest its claim to do so ? I reply, 
Its operation may be regarded in a double aspect : it 
is partly absolute, as that of true and genuine Christianity ; 
and partly contingent, determined by the position of things 


amid which it strives at first to raise itself to purity and 
perfectness. In the first place, as respects the former 
view of the activity of True Religion ; this Religion is 
precisely similar to the Love of Goodness which we have 
described at the close of a former lecture ; which Good 
ness appears to the religious sense as the immediate work 
of God within us; while we, in the accomplishment of 
this work, are regarded as the instruments of God. We 
formerly remarked that this Love of Goodness sets itself 
entirely free even from the Perfect State, and raises itself 
completely above all compulsive Authority ; and for the 
same reasons this may also be said of the True Reli 
gion. That which the God-devoted man may not do on 
any consideration, is indeed also outwardly forbidden in 
the Perfect State; but he has already cast it from him in 
obedience to the Will of God without regard to any out 
ward prohibition. That which alone this God-devoted 
man loves and desires to do, is indeed outwardly com 
manded in this Perfect State ; but he has already done 
it in obedience to the Will of God. If, then, this religious 
frame of mind is to exist in the State and yet never to 
come into collision with it, it is absolutely necessary that 
the State should at all times keep pace with the develop 
ment of the religious sense among its Citizens, so that 
it shall never command anything which True Religion 
forbids, or forbid anything which she enjoins. In such a 
state of things, the well-known principle, that we must 
obey God rather than man, could never come into appli 
cation ; for in that case man would only command what 
God also commanded, and there would remain to the 
willing servant only the choice whether he would pay his 
obedience to the command as that of human power, or as 
the Will of God which he loves before all things else. 
From this perfect Freedom and superiority which Religion 
possesses over the State arises the duty of both to keep 
themselves absolutely separate, and to cast off all inline- 


dicate dependence on each other. Religion must never lay 
claim to the compulsive power by which the State enforces 
its purposes, for Religion, like the Love of Goodness, 
exists inwardly and invisibly in the heart, and never ap 
pears in outward actions, which, although in accordance 
with the Law, may yet have proceeded from other motives 
altogether; while the State can order only the visible 
actions of men. Religion is Love, while force is the in 
strument of the State ; and nothing can be more perverse 
than the desire to enforce Love by outward constraint. 
On the other hand, the State must never attempt to use 
Religion for the furtherance of its purposes ; for in so 
doing, it would place reliance upon an element which is 
not within its power, and which on that account might 
not fulfil its expectations ; in which case it would have 
calculated falsely and thus have failed in its purpose ; it 
must be able of itself to enforce what it commands, and 
must command nothing but what it is able to enforce. 
This is the negative influence of Religion on the State, or 
rather the negative reciprocal influence of both on each 
other : that by the existence of the first, the State is 
confined within its own proper limits, and both are strict 
ly separated from each other. 

In the view of True Religion, and in particular of Chris 
tianity, Humanity is the one, visible, efficient, living, and 
independent existence of God ; or, if the expression be 
not misunderstood, the one manifestation and effluence of 
that Existence ; a beam from the Eternal Light, which 
divides itself, not in reality but only to mere earthly 
vision, into many individual rays. Therefore all which 
truly belongs to this Humanity is, according to this doc 
trine, essentially one and identical throughout ; and is in 
all its elements destined in the same way lovingly to re 
turn to its Original and therein to be blessed. This 
vocation, thus set before man by Religion, must not be 
disturbed or hindered by the State ; which must therefore 


allow to all men, and as the administrator of the purposes 
of the Human Race must provide for all men, equal ac 
cess to the existing sources of the Culture by which they 
may be prepared for this vocation. This is only possible 
by the establishment of an Absolute Equality of all men 
in Personal as well as Civil Freedom ; in respect of Eights 
as well as Right. Thus the same purpose which belongs 
to the State as such, it receives anew from the hands of 
Religion ; and this is the positive influence of Religion on 
the State, not that it gives a new purpose to the State, 
which would be inconsistent with the separation from 
each other which we have already required, but that it 
summons up deeper sympathies in aid of the purpose 
which already belongs to the State, and impels it more 
powerfully towards the attainment of that purpose. Both 
of these developments, indeed, that of the true Religious 
sense, as well as that of Political order, only proceed 
by slow and gradual movements, and to a certain extent 
keep pace with each other ; but there is nothing to pre 
vent the former, at least in Individuals, from preceding 
and partly guiding the latter. 

Such is the case with this relation when the State is 
considered only in itself and in relation to its own Citi 
zens. But should it happen that several independent and 
sovereign States were to arise within the circle of the one 
True Religion ; or, what is the same thing, that the one 
State of Culture and of Christianity were broken up into 
a Christian Republic of Nations, in which individual States 
should be, not indeed constrained, but incessantly observed 
and judged by the others; then there would be found 
laid down in the Christian Doctrine a universally applicable 
Canon for the determination of what is praiseworthy, what 
tolerable, and what censurable, in the intercourse of one 
State with another, as well as in the conduct of private 
Citizens ; and the otherwise absolute Monarch, even after 
he had silenced his own subjects, would still, if any sense 


of honour dwelt within him, have to stand in dread of the 
testimony and judgment of neighbouring States, and of 
posterity whose opinion will be guided by that judgment ; 
or, should he even have cast aside this feeling, he would 
still have to fear the consequences of the loss of general 
confidence. Thus there would arise by means of this Re 
ligion a Public Opinion throughout the whole realm of 
Culture, and in it, a Sovereignty of no mean importance 
over Sovereigns, which would leave them at full liberty 
to do good, while it would often effectually restrain the 
desire of wrong-doing. 

Such is the influence of Christianity on the State, when 
this Religion and its influence are considered absolutely. 
Another influence ifi that which this Religion may exer 
cise contingently, determined by the conditions of the time 
amid which it, as yet, only strives to attain an independent 
existence and fitting sphere of action. This contingent 
influence, which it did actually exercise and in part does 
exercise even to the present day, was determined by the 
condition of the men upon whom it was first directed. 
At that time the superstitious dread of the Godhead as 
a hostile being, as well as the feeling of personal sin- 
fulness, weighed more heavily and universally than at 
any other upon the inhabitants of civilized countries ; 
and there existed a secret looking towards the East, 
and particularly towards Judea, whence some means of 
atonement and expiation were expected to arise. Many 
circumstances in History prove this : for example, 
the attachment to Oriental Mysteries which was so 
generally diffused even in Rome itself; and the im 
mense treasures which found their way from all parts 
of Asia, and even from Europe, to the temple at Jeru 
salem. Christianity, as we have shown in the proper place, 
is no method of atonement and expiation: Man can never 
disunite himself from the Godhead; and in so far as he 
fancies himself so disunited he is a Nonentity, which on 


that very account cannot sin, but on whose forehead 
the imaginary brand of Sin is placed that he may thereby 
be directed to the True God. In the hands of such 
Ages, however, Christianity was necessarily changed into 
a means of atonement and expiation, and assumed the 
form of a New Covenant with God ; because these Ages 
had no need of a Religion, and indeed no capacity for 
receiving one, except in this shape. And thus that 
Christian System which, when I formerly spoke of this 
subject, I called a degenerate form of Christianity, and 
the authorship of which I ascribed to the Apostle Paul, 
was also a necessary product of the whole spirit of that 
Age as directed upon Christianity; and that this man 
and no other should have first given expression to 
that spirit was quite accidental ; for had he not done 
so every one who had not risen superior to his Age 
by the intimate transfusion of his spirit in True Chris 
tianity would have done the same ; as every one does, 
even to the present day, who has filled his mind with 
these pictures, and who dreams of such a mediation be 
tween God and men as necessary, and cannot even con 
ceive of the contrary. 

After Christianity had assumed this form, and par 
ticularly after the external act of initiation Baptism 
had become a mysterious purification from Sin, whereby 
the disciple was immediately released from the eternal 
punishment consequent thereon, and without farther 
effort obtained access to heaven ; it could not but follow 
that the administrators of this rite should acquire the 
highest reputation among men; that the guardianship 
of this purity, which they had conferred by means of 
the sacrament, should likewise devolve upon them ; and 
that thus no human occupation should be exempt from 
a jurisdiction, criticism, and guidance exercised by them 
under this pretence. When this superstition at last 
laid hold of the Roman Emperors themselves and the 

216 LKCTURE xrir. 

highest officers of their State, these too necessarily fell 
under the general discipline of the Ecclesiastics, who 
were consequently incited to exercise their office towards 
these persons with a special and notorious zeal, which 
necessarily produced the most pernicious consequences 
on the authority and freedom of the Government. 
These Ecclesiastics themselves were by their mental 
tendencies shut out from any sound political views ; and 
had scarcely any other conception of the things of this 
world than as means for the propagation of their faith, 
and the maintenance of what they called its purity; 
they were therefore incapable either of wisely guiding 
the Rulers whom they had deprived of freedom, or of 
governing in their room ; and thus nothing else could 
ensue but the total enervation and final destruction of the 
Kingdoms in which they held sway. 

Should there ever again arise a State to which this per 
nicious influence might prove innocuous, and which should 
be able to repel its insidious advances; then must such a 
State be itself established upon Religion, in order thereby 
to counteract an influence which was able only to destroy 
whatever existed without its aid. In consequence of this 
necessity of returning to the original and native principles 
of the State, Religion was also compelled to fall back upon 
her own principles and to reform herself within her 
own domain. She was obliged, in the first place, to suc 
ceed in converting the elements of which the new State was 
composed, in order that both Citizens and Rulers might be 
her own spiritual creation. In this business of conversion 
she had not, as formerly, to do with superstitious, ter 
rified men, who, full of hereditary dread of the Gods, 
were ready upon any terms to throw themselves into her 
bosom ; for similar causes would again have produced 
similar effects : but she had to do with those who in 
their open character and simple relations, for it is only 
the complexity of relations produced by partial Culture 


which gives birth to great crimes, the horror of inward 
sinfulness arid dread of the Gods ; who, I say, in their 
open character and simple relations, had not hitherto 
much concerned themselves about the Divinity, and in 
particular, were very far from fearing Him. The con 
version of such men gave to the Church, in her old 
character of an expiator of Sin and a propitiator of 
God, a wholly new task; this namely, artificially to 
excite among this second class that superstitious fear of 
God, and need of an atonement, which she had found al 
ready existing among her first converts. Unquestionably 
this latter was a much more difficult business, and, 
with the exception of single individuals who may have felt 
peculiarly conscious of sin, and certain epochs which may 
have been particularly favourable to the dominion of the 
Ecclesiastical Power, it has never been, in my opinion, 
so perfectly and so universally accomplished among the 
nations of modern Europe as it was in the Roman Em 
pire ; for proof of which the student may examine in 
particular the history of the Byzantine Monarchy, in 
which the Ecclesiastical Power played its part throughout 
a long series of years. In Modern Europe the religious 
superstition at all times enjoyed the privilege of un 
wearied preaching, and was freely admitted to the com 
munity as a foreign ingredient; but it never struck its 
root so deeply in the heart, and whenever a more power 
ful interest arose it was shaken off. The whole course of 
Modern History proves this; and particularly the Age 
since the Reformation, in which the national character 
of Modern Europe has developed itself more freely. The 
Church has indeed almost ceased to preach this doctrine; 
and even where it still does so it is without fruit for no 
one lays it to heart. 

It was farther necessary that the fundamental elements 
of the New State should bear the general European 
National Characteristic, a keen sense and love of Right 
e a 


and Freedom, in order that they might not return to 
Asiatic despotism, but willingly admit the principle of 
Equality of Right for All, which had been previously 
developed among the Greeks and Romans. They would 
have to combine with this general characteristic the 
special feature of a delicate sense of Honour, in order 
that they might be accessible to the legitimate influ 
ence of Christianity upon Public Opinion which we have 
already pointed out. Precisely such elements as we have 
described were found among the Germanic Races, as if 
they had been expressly reserved for this great pur 
pose. I mention only these ; for the devastating inroads 
of other Races had no enduring results ; and those king 
doms of other origin, which are incorporated with the 
Republic of Nations now existing in Europe, have for the 
most part received Christianity and Culture by means of 
the Germanic tribes. These Germanic tribes, who were 
apparently of similar descent, to the Greeks, and must 
have held intercourse with them at an earlier period 
as a strict examination of the respective languages 
might incontestibly prove, occupied approximately the 
same stage of Culture in their forests as the Greeks in 
their Heroic Age. Many a Hercules, Jason, or Theseus, 
may there have assembled around them bands of will 
ing associates, and achieved wonderful adventures with 
them, unnoticed by History. Their worship was simple 
as their manners, and they were seldom disturbed by 
scruples about their moral worthiness. Independence, 
freedom, and universal equality, had become natural to 
them by the usage of centuries. To fix the regards of 
all men by bold and hazardous enterprises, and after 
death to live in the songs of after times, was the. aim of 
the more noble among them ; faithfulness even unto 
death, on the part of the free follower towards his 
leader, was the glory and honour of others ; and any 
breach of faith was universally regarded as so insup- 


portable a disgrace that even the younger and stronger, 
when they forfeited the freedom they bad staked, volun 
tarily surrendered themselves to the older and feebler 
winner, and even to sale into the bonds of slavery. 
These were the elements out of which Christianity had 
to build up its new State. If, in addition to this, it hap 
pened accidentally that several races of similar descent 
established new States at the same time, and upon the 
same foundation of Christianity and the Ancient Empire, 
these States would even by that common descent be 
bound more closely to each other than to foreign nations; 
and the most favourable circumstance which could pos 
sibly arise, both for Religion and the State, was when 
Religion attained a central point in external political 
power, and that power obtained an independent terri 
torial possession. Not, as formerly, seating herself in 
authority within the Empire, and incessantly controlling 
the government; it was now the business of this Cen 
tral Power to hold together from without the various 
States of the One Empire of Christianity, and to become 
the Arbiter between them ; she was now, by her actual 
position, rather the Guardian of the rights of nations than, 
as formerly, the Head of internal government. Since 
that time it had become of much greater importance to 
Religion that the Empire of Christianity should be 
divided, and all the parts of it maintained in equal and 
independent power, because in these circumstances her 
aid would be needed ; than that it should again return 
to the form of One State, which event, had it occurred 
among these still partially untamed spirits, would likely 
have brought with it dangerous consequences even to the 
Spiritual Power itself. So it actually happened ; and, 
under the protection of this power, individual Christian 
States were enabled to develop themselves according to 
their separate character, and with a considerable degree of 
freedom ; and the Christian Republic of Nations, which 


arose and was maintained by means of this Power, 
was further extended and enlarged, partly by the armed 
conquest of single States from the dominion of Non- 
Christianity, partly by peaceful conquest, by means of 
conversion of new Empires to Christianity, and by the 
consequent subjugation of these to the Central Spiritual 

Thefundamentalprinciplesof this Christian Empire were, 
and for the most part are to the present day, the follow 
ing: First, with respect to the Rights of Nations: A 
State, because it is a Christian State, has a right of exist 
ence in its actually present condition; it is possessed of a 
perfectly independent Sovereignty, and no other Christian 
State, the Spiritual Central Power in its own peculiar 
office excepted, may demand a voice in the arrangement 
of its internal affairs. All Christian States stand to 
wards each other in the position of reciprocal recognition 
and of original peace : of original peace, I say ; that is, 
there can no war arise with respect to the existence of 
a State, although war may well arise as to the fortuitous 
modifications of that existence. By this principle, a 
war of extermination between Christian States is strict 
ly prohibited. Not so as regards Non-Christian States ; 
these, according to the same principle, have no re 
cognised existence, and they not only may, but ought 
to be, expelled from the circle of Christian dominion. 
The Church gives them no peace ; and should such a 
peace be conceded by Christian powers, this could only 
happen from necessity, or because the Christian prin 
ciple is extinguished and other motives have taken its 
place. Secondly, with respect to Civil Rights : Before 
God all men are free and equal ; in every Christian 
State all men without exception must have the means 
and opportunity conceded to them of devoting themselves 
to God, and in this respect at least be assured of Per 
sonal Freedom; and from this there readily follows 


complete Personal Freedom, and the principles that no 
Christian can be a slave and that a Christian soil con 
fers Freedom. On the other hand, according to the 
same principle, the Non-Christian or Heathen, may 
legitimately be made a slave. 

An outward event, of too much importance to be passed 
over in silence, served to urge this Christian Republic of 
Nations into closer union with each other, to compel them 
to regard themselves as members belonging to one Whole, 
to pursue common interests, and to commence new under 
takings in their common character as a Christian Republic. 
In Asia which, except that it probably had been the 
abode of the Normal People, had otherwise done nothing 
for Humanity save the production of the True Religion, 
there arose a second and younger branch of this True 
Religion, namely, Mohammedanism, obviously from one 
and the same source as Christianity, but by no means 
admitting the entire abrogation of the Ancient Covenant 
with God ; hence accepting from Judaism whatever was 
applicable to its own condition, and thus bringing along 
with it the germ of its gradual corruption and final 
ruin, and rejecting the inexhaustible source of outward 
perfection which Christianity contains within itself. 
Zealous in proselytism like Christianity; expert at the 
.sword, by which from the first it had spread itself abroad; 
vainly arrogating a superiority over Christianity on ac 
count of a distinction of little importance in itself, this 
namely, that it distinctly declared the Unity of God a 
doctrine which was essentially pre-supposed in Chris 
tianity, and that it was not wholly imbued with such 
gross superstition as the Christianity of the Time; lastly, 
dogmatically inculcating Despotism, and that mute and 
unquestioning submission which is peculiar to the East, as 
its political principles; this Mohammedanism waged war 
with Christianity and proved a victorious assailant. Be 
sides extinguishing Christianity altogether in a consider- 


able extent of territory, and establishing itself as the do 
minant Religion, there was yet a circumstance connected 
with these triumphs which made them peculiarly painful to 
Christianity, .namely, that among the countries thus lost, 
there was that Land especially to which Christianity owed 
its birth, and towards which the romantic piety of the 
new Christians devoutly turned its regards. To indig 
nation succeeded a burning desire of action ; and with a 
free enthusiasm like what might have animated them in 
their native forests, not as Citizens of this State or of 
that, but only as Christians, hosts of the Germanic 
tribes precipitated themselves upon that Land to win it 
back from Saracen domination. However unsatisfactory 
may have been the result of these undertakings; what 
ever evil may have been said of the Crusades by critics 
who have never been able to forget their own Age, and 
to transplant themselves into the spirit of other times so 
as to obtain a complete survey of the whole ; they still 
remain an ever-memorable manifestation of power on 
the part of a One united Christian World as such, wholly 
independent of the individuality of the several States 
into which it was broken up. The knowledge of many 
important peculiarities of these enemies, as well as ob 
servation of the crimes of which they were themselves 
accused, and accused others in return, was no unimportant 
fruit of the undertaking. 

At a later period Mohammedanism, which had already 
in the early times of the Christian State penetrated 
into those countries which seemed to be set apart as 
the exclusive possession of Christianity, namely into Eu 
rope, and had been driven thence in feebleness, now re 
appeared there on another and more dangerous side, 
and amid a new nation, the Turks, with the un 
disguised purpose of its gradual conquest and subju 
gation. Then awoke again, for the last time, at least 
in discourses and public writings, the idea of Christians 


forming but One State and possessing one common 
interest; until, at last, the dreaded enemy, involved in 
the meshes of European policy, grew old in itself and 
began its course of decay towards internal dissolution. 

These are, in my opinion, the external conditions under 
which the Christian State-system of Modern Europe has 
begun and continued its development. How the true 
State-Constitution develops itself in individual States 
under these outward conditions, hindered or furthered 
by them ; how it has received within itself, and further 
cultivated, whatever it has found already existing in 
the world ; we shall see in the future lectures ; if we 
may venture to hope that these inquiries continue to 
possess an interest for you, and can still attract and 
hold together the remaining body of our accustomed 
1) carers. 

( 225 ) 



IT was Christianity which assembled together the social 
elements of a New Age, and wrought out their spiritual 
regeneration; it was the administrators of this Christianity, 
now become a Politico-Spiritual Central Power, who upheld 
the New State, now broken up into a Republic of Nations, 
in this condition of separation; who ordered the recipro 
cal relations of Individual States, and even constrained 
them by outward motives to coalesce into one acting 
power; and under whose protection each particular 
State enjoyed and exercised its independence, and the 
liberty of developing its own resources and of acquiring 
new strength. 

The nations of Modern Europe, partly because they 
could never be thoroughly penetrated by the principle upon 
which the authority of the Spiritual Power depended, i.e. 
that to it the office of Mediator between God and men be 
longed, partly on account of their original and hereditary 
love of political independence; these nations, I say, could 
only submit to this guardianship so long as the individual 
States were still occupied in strengthening their own in 
ternal authority, and, amid the daily pressure of conflicting 
elements, could not attain a distinct consciousness of their 
own strength. 

226 LECTURE 1V. 

This internal conflict was stimulated by a peculiarity in 
the earlier constitution of the Germanic Races, as well as 
by their national character, and it was carefully main 
tained and employed by the Spiritual Central Power, which 
was well acquainted with the conditions of the influence 
of that peculiarity. The firmest and only permanent rela 
tion among these otherwise inconstant and ever-changing 
masses was unquestionably, in the case of the Germanic 
Races, the personal connexion between the willing and 
faithful Follower and the Leader to whom he had freely 
attached himself. 

The Germanic conquerors and founders of States were 
essentially such Leaders, and in their loyal Followers, 
personally devoted to them in life and death, the true 
strength and efficiency of their hosts consisted, to 
which other wandering masses only attached themselves. 
Pledged to the maintenance of their Followers, the con 
querors bestowed lands upon them, and transferred to 
the possession of the land that bond which had pre 
viously been a mere personal agreement ; so that the 
reciprocal obligations of both the parties to this covenant 
afterwards even became hereditary. The former volun 
tary and personal bond became a permanent political 
bond, and the Feudal System arose. But this state of 
things could not continue. The Germanic nations might 
indeed subject themselves voluntarily out of admiration 
for the personal superiority of their Leaders, but their 
love of independence could not brook a political subju 
gation. The vassals struggled to acquire this independence; 
the Rulers opposed them with the aid of recognised 
authority; and the Spiritual Central Power, supported in 
like manner, sought to hold the balance between both 
parties, and thus to perpetuate the struggle, and there 
with the necessity of its mediation, and the internal 
insufficiency of the individual States. This struggle 
ended, the outer rampart of its empire would be thrown 


down. There were two ways in which the struggle 
might come to a close : either by the overthrow of the 
vassals, as occurred in one of the leading States of 
Christendom (France) ; or by the defeat of the ruling 
power, as occurred in another leading State (Germany.) 
If we suppose that in the latter case considerable masses 
remained united, so that the former vassals now associated 
themselves into States and could bind their vassals in 
turn, a complete resolution of the strife did not ensue. 
In the latter country, the Church - Reformation united 
itself as by a miracle with these victorious beginnings, 
and those who struggled for emancipation received in it 
a new confederate, whom they knew well how to employ 
against the power of the Empire which desired their 
subjugation ; and against the Spiritual Power, which did 
not indeed desire their subjugation, but looked with as 
little favour on their complete independence. 

The political principles of this Reformation, in so far as 
they were directed against the influence of the Spiritual 
Central Power, found admission even in quarters where 
they should not have been employed against the highest 
power of the State, and where the dogmatic principles of the 
Reformation were rejected. And in this way the political 
influence of that Spiritual Central Power was brought to 
a close, and it retained only its dogmatic and disciplinary 
Ecclesiastical sway in those places to which the Church- 
Reformation did not extend. 

By means of. this complete reform of the realm of 
Culture, its bond of union as the one and undivided 
Christian Republic received an entirely new foundation 
and support, as well as new modifications. This union 
was no longer clearly recognised and distinctly acted 
upon as a principle ; but it, as well as the fundamental 
conceptions which proceeded from it, and which we have 
set forth in our last lecture, became rather a dim instinct, 
an accustomed supposition, made and acted upon without 

228 ."" LECTURE xiv. 

distinct consciousness; arid it passed from the guardian 
ship of the Church to that of Public Opinion, of History, 
and of Authors in general. 

In the first place : There is a necessary tendency in 
every cultivated State, to extend itself generally, and to 
include all men within the unity of its Citizenship. Such 
is the case in Ancient History. In Modern Times a 
barrier was opposed to this tendency by the internal 
weakness of the States, and by the Spiritual Central 
Power, whose interest it was that the Realm of Culture 
should remain divided. As the States became stronger 
in themselves and cast off that foreign power, the 
tendency towards a Universal Monarchy over the whole 
Christian World necessarily came to light; and this so 
much the more since it was but one common Culture 
which had developed itself in the different States, though 
with various modifications. In reference to these particu 
lar modifications they had all received only a partial 
cultivation ; and in such a state of partial culture, as we 
have already remarked, each State is tempted to consider 
its own civilization as the best, and to imagine that the 
inhabitants of other countries would esteem themselves 
very fortunate were they but Citizens of its Realm. 

This tendency towards Universal Monarchy, as well as 
the conquest of other Christian States, was rendered so 
much the easier in this realm of Christendom inasmuch as 
the manners and customs of the European Nations and 
their Political Constitutions are almost everywhere alike. 
Besides there are one or two Languages which are common 
to the cultivated classes among all nations, while those 
which are not so generally known may, in case of neces 
sity, be easily acquired. On this account the conquered, 
finding themselves in nearly the same position under 
their new government as under the old, have little 
interest in the question who shall be their ruler ; and 
thus the conquerors can in a short time, and with 


little trouble, recast the new provinces in the form 
of the old, and use the former as freely as the latter. 
Through the Reformation, indeed, many forms of the 
one essentially indivisible Christianity have arisen ; and 
among these, in part, a most hostile aversion. Against 
this source of distraction, however, each State has the 
easy remedy of peaceful Toleration and equal rights to 
all ; and thus once more, as formerly in the Heathen 
Roman Empire, Religious Toleration and accommodation 
in particulars to the manners of other nations, have become 
an excellent means of making and maintaining conquests ; 
while at the same time, the union of several creeds in one 
political body efficiently promotes the purpose which, in our 
former lecture, we have described as the absolute purpose 
of Christianity, the complete separation of Religion from 
the State, since the State must thus become neutral 
and indifferent towards all creeds. 

This tendency towards a Christian-European Universal 
Monarchy has shown itself successively in the several 
States which could make pretensions to such a dominion, 
and, since the fall of the Papacy, it has become the sole 
animating principle of our History. We by no means 
seek by this assertion to determine whether this notion 
of Universal Monarchy has ever been distinctly entertained 
as a definite plan ; the Historian may even lead a nega 
tive proof, and attempt to show that this thought has 
never attained a clear and distinct acceptance in any 
individual mind, without our principle being thereby over 
thrown. Whether clearly or not, it may be obscurely, 
yet has this tendency lain at the root of the undertakings 
of many States in Modern Times, for only by this prin 
ciple can these undertakings be explained. Many States, 
already powerful in themselves, and indeed the more on 
that account, have exhibited a marked desire for yet more 
extensive dominion, and have constantly sought to acquire 
new provinces by intermarriage, treaty, or conquest ; not 


from the realms of Barbarism, which would give another 
aspect to the business, but within the empire of Chris 
tianity itself. To what purpose did they propose to apply 
this accession of power, and to what purpose did they act 
ually apply it when it was attained ? To acquire yet more 
extensive possessions. And where would this progress 
have had an end, had matters but proceeded according to 
the desire of these States ? Only at the point where there 
was nothing more left to satiate the desire of acquisition. 
Although no individual Epoch may have contemplated 
this purpose, yet is this the spirit which runs through all 
these individual Epochs, and invisibly urges them onward. 

Against this desire of aggrandizement, the less powerful 
States are now compelled to contrive means for their own 
preservation ; one condition of which is the preservation 
of other States, in order that the power of the natural 
enemy may not be increased by the acquisition of any of 
these States to the prejudice of the rest : in one word, it 
becomes the business of the less powerful States to main 
tain a Balance of Power in Christendom. What we our 
selves cannot acquire, no other shall acquire, because his 
power would thereby obtain a disproportionate addition ; 
and thus the care of the greater States for their own pre 
servation is at the same time the protection of the weaker 
communities: or, If we cannot hinder others from 
aggrandizing themselves, then we must also secure for 
ourselves a proportionate aggrandizement. 

No State, however, strives to maintain this Balance of 
Power in the European Republic of Nations, except on ac 
count of its being unable to attain something still more 
desirable ; and because it cannot yet realize the purpose 
of its individual aggrandizement, and the idea of Universal 
Monarchy which lies at the foundation of that purpose : 
whenever it becomes more powerful it surely embraces this 
design. Thus each State either strives to attain this Uni 
versal Christian Monarchy, or at least to acquire the power 


of striving after it ; to maintain the Balance of Power 
when it is in danger of being disturbed by another ; and, 
in secret, for power that it may eventually disturb it itself. 

This is the natural and necessary course of things, whe 
ther it be confessed or not, whether it be even recognised 
or not. That a State, even when taken on the very point 
of warfare, should solemnly assert its love of peace and its 
aversion to conquest, is nothing; for, in the first place, 
it must make this averment and so hide its real intention 
if it would succeed in its design ; and the well-known prin 
ciple, Threaten war that thou mayest have peace, may 
also be inverted in this way Promise peace that thou 
mayest begin war with advantage ; and, in the second 
place, it may be wholly in earnest with this assurance at 
the time, so far as it knows itself: but let the favourable 
opportunity for aggrandizement present itself and the 
previous good resolution is forgotten. And thus, in the 
ceaseless struggles of the Christian Republic do weak 
States gradually raise themselves first to an equality, and 
then to a superiority, of power ; while others which before 
had boldly strode onwards to Universal Monarchy, now 
contend only for the maintenance of the Balance of Power ; 
and a third class, who perhaps have formerly occupied 
both of these positions, and still remain free and indepen 
dent with respect to their internal affairs, have yet, in 
their external relations, and as regards their political 
power in Europe, become mere appendages to other and 
more powerful States. And so, by means of these vicissi 
tudes, Nature strives after, and maintains, an equilibrium, 
through the very struggles of men for superiority. 

A less powerful State, simply because it is less powerful, 
cannot extend itself by foreign conquest. How then shall 
it attain any considerable importance within this neces 
sary limitation ? There is no other means possible but 
the cultivation of internal strength. Should it not even 
acquire a single foot of new ground, yet if its ancient soil 


be better peopled, more rich in all human purposes, 
then, without gaining territory, it has gained men as the 
strength and muscle of its State ; and should they have 
come to it from other States, it has won them from its 
natural rivals. This is the first peaceful conquest, with 
which each less powerful State in Christian Europe may 
commence to work out its own elevation ; for the Chris 
tian Europeans are essentially but one people ; recognise 
this common Europe as their one true Fatherland ; and, 
from one end of it to the other, pursue nearly the same 
purposes, and are actuated by similar motives. They seek 
Personal Freedom, Justice, and Laws under which all 
men shall be equal, and by which all shall be protected 
without exception or favour; they seek opportunity to 
earn their subsistence by labour and industry ; they seek 
Religious Toleration for their creeds ; Mental Freedom, 
that they may think according to their own religious and 
scientific opinions, express these openly, and form their 
judgments thereby. Where any one of these elements is 
awanting, thence they long to depart ; where these are 
secured to them, there they gladly resort. Now all these 
elements already belong to the necessary purposes of the 
State as such : in the present position of individual States 
towards each other, these purposes are also forced upon it 
by necessity, and by the care for its own preservation ; for 
the fear of subjugation compels it to self-aggrandizement, 
and it has, at first, no other means of aggrandizement 
than that which we have pointed out. 

But there is another way by which the State may at 
tract to itself, if not the men of neighbouring States, yet 
the powers of these men, and may make these powers 
tributary to itself; and this method plays too important a 
part in Modern History to be passed over in silence. It 
consists in a State monopolizing universal Commerce, ac 
quiring exclusive possession of commodities which are 
generally sought for, and of money, the universal medium 


of exchange ; thenceforward determining prices for the 
rest of the world, and so compelling the whole Christian 
Republic of Nations to pay for those wars which it has 
from time to time undertaken against the whole Christian 
Republic for the purpose of maintaining this superiority; 
and to defray the interest of a National Debt contracted 
for the same purpose. It might possibly be found upon 
calculation, that when the inhabitant of a country thou 
sands of miles distant has paid for his daily meal, he has 
spent one-half or three-fourths of the produce of his day s 
labour for the purposes of this foreign State. I mention 
this method, not for the purpose of recommending it ; for 
its success is founded only on the imbecility of the rest of 
the world, and it would return with fearful retribution upon 
its inventors were this imbecility removed ; but I mention 
it only in order to point out the remedy against it. This 
remedy consists in rejecting the use of these commodities ; 
in ceasing to think that the wealth of this State is the only 
wealth ; and in believing that a State which has made it 
self independent in a mercantile respect can make wealth 
of what it pleases. But upon this point there is a veil 
over the eyes of the Age which it is impossible to remove ; 
and it is in vain to waste words on the subject. 

When a less powerful State has in the first place acquired 
internal strength by the methods which we have pointed 
out ; and perhaps thereby become sufficiently powerful to 
attempt foreign conquest; and, it maybe, has succeeded in 
this undertaking; it then encounters a new difficulty: it 
has entirely destroyed the previous Balance of Power, and 
the order of things then existing; and the new-comer excites 
the jealousy and distrust of other States more strongly than 
those powers with which they are already familiar. It 
must henceforward be always on its guard, maintain its 
energies in a state of constant readiness and efficiency, and 
leave no means unemployed to add at least to its internal 
strength when no favourable opportunity presents itself 

9 a 


for outward expansion. With reference to external affairs, 
it is a part of this policy to take the weaker neighbouring 
States under its protection, and thereby make its interest 
in its own preservation likewise theirs, so that, in pos 
sibly succeeding wars, it may be able to calculate upon 
their power as well as its own. With reference to inter 
nal affairs, there are likewise other cares which belong to 
this policy, besides the methods which we have already 
pointed out, of attracting new dwellers to the country, 
and retaining its old inhabitants ; namely, the care for 
the preservation and increase of the Human Race, by en 
couraging marriage and the rearing of children, by sani 
tary regulations, &c., the promotion of the dominion of 
man over Nature, which we have already sufficiently de 
scribed, by the systematic and progressive improvement 
of Agriculture, Manufactures, and Commerce, and by the 
maintenance of the necessary equilibrium between these 
three branches of Industry ; in short, by all that may be 
comprehended in the idea of Political Science, when that 
idea is thoroughly understood. Those who deride such 
endeavours under the name of Economy, have only looked 
upon the outward vesture, and have not penetrated to 
the essential nature and true meaning of these forms 
of Industry. Among other questions, this one too has 
been proposed : Whether the population of a State may 
not become too large ? In our opinion, the indolent and 
unproductive Citizen is at all times, and in every state of 
the population, superfluous and unnecessary ; but when, 
ivith a growing population, Agriculture, Manufactures, and 
Commerce also increase in suitable proportions to each 
other, then the country can never have too many in 
habitants ; for the productiveness of Nature, when syste 
matically cultivated, may be regarded as inexhaustible. 

All these measures are, as we have shown above, the 
proper and natural purposes of the State; in the present 
Political System, however, they are even forced upon it by 


necessity. It is quite possible that, in what we have now 
set forth, we may have merely described that which existing 
States, who lay claim to high culture, actually do and prac 
tise; but we have set it forth with a new significance. We 
have seen that these things are not done by mere chance, 
but that these States are compelled to them by neces 
sity; and we have thereby pointed out the guarantee 
which we possess that they must continue to do the-se 
things, and to do them more and more thoroughly, if 
they would not lose their place in the onward throng of 
Nations, and be finally vanquished and overthrown. 

Finally, there is, in the present Political System of 
Europe, another purpose given to the State by the same 
necessity, namely, that establishment of Equal Rights 
for all men which has never yet been realized in the 
world, and the gradual abolition of those social inequali 
ties which still exist in Christian Europe as remnants 
of the Feudal System. I touch upon this subject in 
rny present position without fear ; I believe that I should 
do wrong to the honourable assembly whom I address 
were I to harbour the slightest doubt of their willingness 
to have this subject discussed. Who is there among us 
who thinks himself superior to the People, who, even with 
such distinctions, has not, directly or indirectly, reaped ad 
vantage from them ? It is right that we should accept 
whatever is offered to us by our Age, but we ought also 
to be content at all times to relinquish Privileges which 
the Age can no longer confer. 

The necessity which is thus imposed on the State arises 
in thefollowing way: Compelled, constantly and regularly, 
to call forth and appropriate as much of the power of its 
less favoured citizens as they can devote to it consistently 
with their own personal freedom and subsistence, it cannot, 
when there is need of still greater effort, exact more from 
them than it has already received. There remains no other 
way of escape from the difficulty, than to call upon the 


Privileged Orders and Classes. Although this may occur 
at first only in a passing emergency, the desire to 
command, at all times and by right, the power which it 
lias once commanded, will easily be excited : and the 
way to its accomplishment, once discovered, will be 
readily found again. Add to this, that even the un 
privileged members of the State would render more 
efficient service to it if they were not forced to be 
subservient to the Privileged Orders. A State which 
constantly seeks to increase its internal strength, is thus 
forced to desire the gradual abolition of all Privileges, 
and the establishment of Equal Rights for all men, in 
order that it, the State itself, may enter upon its own 
true Right, to apply the whole surplus power of all its 
Citizens, without exception, for the furtherance of its own 
purposes. The truest and most fruitful view of these 
Privileges, would thus, in our opinion, be the following : 
They are a public treasure, committed by the infant 
State, which neither required to employ its whole powers 
nor knew how to employ them, to the hands of its 
more cultivated members, to be freely employed by 
them, according to their best judgment, for the promo 
tion of free Culture. The more fully and efficiently this 
purpose has been carried out, the more is the internal 
strength of the State gradually increased through the ser 
vices of these privileged members, and the longer may 
they be left in possession of the trust which they so faith 
fully administer. But should a time arrive when this 
free Culture must give place to an Artificial Civilization 
proceeding according to Laws ; and when the State must 
undertake the direct administration, by its own hands, of 
this capital hitherto deposited with them ; then it must 
demand restitution of these Privileges, but in such a manner 
that no sudden overthrow of existing relations may ensue, 
and therefore a gradual restitution. The truly Free and 
Noble will readily make this sacrifice as an offering on their 


country s altar : those who need to be compelled to this 
restitution only prove thereby that they have never been 
worthy to hold the trust committed to them. 

To preclude the possibility of any misconception on this 
point, I shall at once set forth the highest principle of my 
views upon the Equality of Human Rights. The common 
trivial theory supposes the State to have been preceded 
by an imaginary lawless state of Nature in which mere 
force was the master; the stronger appropriating all 
that fell within their grasp, and the weaker going away 
empty. The results of this state of lawlessness are 
afterwards confirmed by Law, which makes that just 
which in itself was absolutely unjust ; and the State 
exists only for the purpose of protecting the powerful in 
the enjoyment of their hoards by whatever means these 
may have been accumulated, and of preventing those who 
went away empty from the division from ever acquiring 
any possession. Apart from the fact that this view is 
wholly unhistorical, at least so far as regards Modern 
History, and that according to this view, all right of pro 
perty has arisen out of the previous establishment of the 
State ; it is also opposed to Reason, and its opposition to 
Reason is very obvious in the expression which we have 
given to it above. Every man as suck has a right to the 
possession of property ; this right is equal in all men ; 
whatever is convertible into property ought therefore by 
Right to be equally divided among all ; and it is the grad 
ual accomplishment of this Equal Division of that which 
Nature and Accident have divided unequally, towards 
which, under the guidance of Nature itself, the State is 
impelled by necessity and by the care for its own pre 

All that I have now set forth in detail is that gradual 
interpenetration of the Citizen by the State which I have laid 
down as the political characteristic of our Age ; and it is 
now your business to determine whether such is the actual 


state of things at least in those countries where the State 
has attained the highest degree of Culture, i.e. the greatest 
internal strength, and the greatest amount of commanding 
influence upon the Christian Republic of Nations. We have 
explained unequivocally enough, and so as to place our 
meaning beyond the reach of misconception, that this inter- 
penetration of the Citizen by the State, and the changing of 
his whole outward activity into an instrument of the State, 
is not here made the subject of censure, as it has been by 
a certain visionary scheme of unrestricted freedom, which 
sometimes calls itself Philosophy; but, on the contrary, we 
have shown it to be a necessary purpose of the State and 
of Nature. We do indeed desire Freedom, and we 
ought to desire it ; but true Freedom can be obtained 
only by means of the highest obedience to Law. How 
it necessarily arises therefrom, we have, I think, clearly 
shown on two different occasions, in the course of these 
lectures. And we have not forgotten to show likewise, 
that the State having once obtained possession of the 
National Power, a possession which indeed it will never 
relinquish, it will yet not always employ this Power 
for the narrow and exclusive purpose of its own pre 
servation, a purpose imposed on it only by the faults 
of the time; but when that Endless Peace shall be 
born to which we must surely come at last, it will then 
direct it towards worthier aims. 

The most cultivated State in the European Republic of 
Nations is in every Age without exception the most 
active and enterprising ; and each State strives most 
energetically in that Epoch of its existence when it is 
no longer under the necessity of struggling to main 
tain its relative position among other Nations, but now 
rather endeavours to acquire sufficient strength itself to 
direct and modify, or even at pleasure to destroy, the 
general Balance of Power ; the latter power being impos 
sible without the former; and these efforts will be the 


more profitable for the advancement of Culture the less 
such a State is favoured by accident, and the more it on 
that account requires, and continues to require, the exer 
cise of the sagacious policy*bf increasing and strengthening 
its internal resources. A State which has yet anxiously to 
struggle for the maintenance of Equilibrium must be de 
ficient in internal Freedom and Independence, and in all 
its proceedings must be too frequently under the necessity 
of taking into consideration the purposes of neighbouring 
States. A State which feels itself in possession of secure 
and undisputed Superiority easily becomes careless ; sur 
rounded by enterprising competitors it gradually loses its 
superiority ; arid it may perhaps require the discipline 
of grievous disasters to bring it back to the care of its 
own interests. 

In these collective peculiarities of our Age lies the 
guarantee which Nature herself has given us for the con 
tinued excellence of our Governments, and the compulsion 
which, without our assistance, she exercises for our ad 
vantage over the constraining powers of Government. 

Throughout Christian Europe almost every independent 
State now pursues its purpose with all the energy it pos 
sesses, and the means both of internal and external aggran 
dizement are not unknown. In this general struggle of 
Powers, it is necessary that no advantage should be allowed 
to escape, for in that case some neighbour would surely 
seize upon it at once, and besides depriving us of it would 
assuredly employ it against us ; that no single maxim of 
good Government, and no possible branch of Administration 
should be overlooked, for it is also a maxim of our neighbour 
to take every possible advantage of our neglect. In this 
contest that State which does not move onwards falls 
behind, and declines more and more, until at length it 
loses its Political Independence altogether, becomes in the 
first place a mere make-weight to some other State in the 
general Balance of Power, and is ultimately broken up into 


provinces under the dominion of Foreign States. Every 
Political Error carries with it the punishment of ultimate 
ruin unless the neighbouring States are equally unwise; 
and the State that would not meet destruction must avoid 
such Errors. 

But should it be unwise and fall into Error ? I ask, in 
return, where then is the Fatherland of the truly culti 
vated Christian European ? In general it is Europe ; 
in particular it is that State in Europe which occupies 
the highest rank of Culture. The State which commits 
a fatal Error must indeed fall in course of time, and 
therefore cease to hold this rank. But although it falls 
and must fall, nay, on this very account, others arise, 
and among them one especially which now occupies the 
rank which the other held before. Let then mere Earth- 
born men, who recognise their Fatherland in the soil, 
the rivers, and the mountains, remain Citizens of the 
fallen State, they retain what they desire, and what 
constitutes their happiness ; the Sun-like Spirit, irre 
sistibly attracted, will wing its way wherever there is 
Light and Liberty. And in this cosmopolitan frame of 
mind we may look with perfect serenity on the actions 
and the fate of Nations, for ourselves and our successors, 
even to the end of Time. 

(241 ) 



WE begin this lecture with a remark, which properly closes 
the inquiry we brought to a termination in our last 
address, and opens that which we have to enter upon to 
day, and is thus the point of transition from the one to 
the other; a remark, the import of which we have all 
along tacitly assumed, but which we now desire clearly 
and distinctly to set forth. 

From Christianity we have deduced the whole character 
of Modern Time, and the form and manner of the de 
velopment of this character. But everything which 
becomes the Principle of Phenomena is, on that very 
account, lost in the Phenomena themselves ; becomes 
invisible to mere outward sense, and is only recognisable 
to the piercing eye of reflection. Thus in so far as 
Christianity has become a true Principle, it is no longer 
present in clear consciousness to the men of the Age ; 
on the contrary, that which they regard as Christianity 
has, precisely on that account, never become a Principle, 
nor is it truly accepted and received into the inward, 
essential, and peculiar Life of the Age. Christianity 
was to us synonymous with the One True Religion ; 
and we carefully distinguished it from the various acci 
dental modifications which this True Religion received 

7, a 


at the time of its first appearance in the world. In so far 
as the consequences of these accidental modifications have 
taken firm root in the actual condition of the Human 
Race, and we have already shown how far this has taken 
place in the existing Constitution of the European Repub 
lic of States, in so far are their true sources no longer 
known or recognised, and that is frequently ascribed to 
chance which is the result of Christianity. 

It could not be otherwise with those relations of the 
Human Race which lie beyond the jurisdiction of the 
State. To mention that which ranks highest among these 
after Religion, Science ; and to instance that branch of 
it which has at all times had the most powerful influence 
on the form of the whole domain of Science, and has, tacitly 
at least, and apparently with justice, assumed the legislative 
function in that domain, Philosophy ; by what. has the 
love of Philosophy in modern times been kindled but by 
Christianity? what has been the highest and ultimate task 
< of Philosophy but thoroughly to explore and even to 
rectify the Christian Doctrine ? by what means has Phi 
losophy, in all its shapes, acquired its most wide-spread 
influence, and, emerging from the narrow circle of its own 
disciples, flowed forth over the whole Human Race, but by 
means of the Symbols of Religion and in the communication 
of this Religion to the People? In all Modern Times the 
present history of Philosophy has been the future history 
of Religious Symbols. Both proceed in the same course 
towards a higher purity and an original harmony ; and 
the Religious Teacher is thus the permanent Interpreter 
between the learned and the unlearned Public. Thus 
has the whole of Modern Philosophy directly, and by 
means of it the whole form of Science indirectly, been 
the creation of Christianity ; and this is also the case 
with other elements of civilization; so that it may be 
found that the One Permanent and Immutable Element 
in the perpetual current of Modern Time is Christianity, 


in its pure, unchangeable form ; and that this alone shall 
remain so to the end. 

In pursuance of the plan which we have formerly indi 
cated, we have to-day to set forth the character of the 
General and Public Manners of the Present Age. After 
what has been previously said, you will not be surprised if 
here again we revert to Christianity, as the principle of all 
Public Manners in Modern Times. 

In the first place, what is meant by Manners ? and in 
what sense do we use this word ? To us, and according to 
our opinion, in every intelligible use of language, it signifies, 
the accustomed Principles which regulate the mutual inter 
course and reciprocal influence of men, and which have be 
come a second nature throughout the whole domain of Culture, 
but on that very account are not distinctly recognised in 
Consciousness. The Principles, we have said ; and 
therefore by no means the fortuitous actual course of 
conduct, determined, it may be, by mere accidental cir 
cumstances ; but, on the contrary, that concealed Prin 
ciple of conduct which always remains the same, the 
existence of which we always presuppose in Man when 
ever left to his own instincts, and from which we can, 
with so much apparent certainty, calculate beforehand 
the course of conduct which will be its necessary result. 
The Principles, I said, which have become a second nature, 
but on that very account are not distinctly recognised in 
Consciousness: and hence there are to be excepted from 
this definition, all those impulses and motives influencing 
the general course of conduct which are founded upon 
Freedom, the inward impulse of Morality, as well as 
the outward motive of Law; whatever Man must first 
consider and then freely resolve upon does not fall 
within the category of Manners. In so far as a fixed 
standard of Manners may be ascribed to an Age, in so far 
is it to be regarded as an unconscious instrument of the 
Spirit of the Time. 


We have already ascribed to the introduction of the 
Equality of all Men before the tribunal of Right, and 
before a Legislation which should discover with cer 
tainty every transgression and with equal certainty inflict 
the threatened punishment, which Legislation has only 
been introduced in Modern Times through the influence 
of Christianity, we have ascribed, I say, to such a 
Legislation a most important arid highly beneficial in 
fluence upon the Manners of the Citizens. Were every 
inward temptation to injustice towards others, so we 
casually expressed ourselves, were every such inward 
temptation crushed, even in its birth, by the conscious 
ness that no other result could follow this course but 
certain punishment and loss, then would the People 
gradually lose the habit of even entertaining thoughts 
of injustice, or of exhibiting such desires even by the 
most trifling outward manifestation : all would appear 
virtuous; although it were yet only the menaces of Law 
which scared back evil desire to the most secret recesses of 
the heart; the remembrance of these menaces would have 
become a part of the Manners of the People, and thus it 
would have likewise become a part of such Manners to 
give way to no thought of injustice. These Manners, as 
merely restraining from evil but not as yet impelling 
towards good behaviour, would be negatively good ; i.e. 
they would not be Bad Manners, and their production 
would be the negative influence of Legislation, and through 
it of Christianity, upon Public Morality. 

This influence of Legislation upon Manners is necessary 
and infallible : If in no case any advantage is to be ex 
pected from injustice, but at all times only loss and de 
triment ? then no one, if he but love himself and seek 
his own welfare, can desire to be unjust. Should this 
influence upon Manners fail to show itself to the antici 
pated extent in actual and really efficient Legislation, 
then we should have to inquire whether this defect does 


not arise from some existing uncertainty as to the execu 
tion of the Law ; either because the guilty may with great 
probability hope to remain undiscovered, or because the 
course of Justice and of Judicial Inquiry and Evidence is 
intricate and obscure, and presents many opportunities of 
escape. In this case, the subject of temptation might 
thus argue with himself: Ten others, or more perhaps 
around me, have done this thing and go unpunished ; why 
should I, the eleventh, be discovered ? or thus : I my 
self have done this thing already ten times; let me ven 
ture it again this eleventh time. Should I unfortunately 
be discovered, I have already the gain of ten to set against 
the loss of one ; and no exception could be taken to this 
mode of reckoning. In the first case, the probability of 
no accusation being made would indicate a want of strict 
surveillance despite the good Legislation ; in the second 
case, the hope of escaping conviction, even should an accu 
sation take place, would indicate a deficiency in the re 
quisite number of acute and sharp-sighted judges. In 
both cases, our next task would be to discover the cause 
of this deficiency ; for example, whether it did not arise 
out of the necessity which we have already described of 
the State employing all its powers directly for its outward 
protection ; and whether such a State, were the augmen 
tation of its Police or the improvement of its system of 
Judicial Inquiry demanded of it, would not be forced to 
lament its inability to provide the means for the accom 
plishment of these purposes. In this case, it would be 
necessary to represent to such a Government that inward 
security and strength is yet more important than outward, 
and that the former is the firmest foundation for the 
latter; that the means for the attainment of the former 
must first be provided, before there should be any question 
of the latter condition : and should we not dare to make 
these representations to the State, and were still less able 
to enforce our views upon its attention, it were at least 


much to le desired that internal disorder, carried to the 
highest extreme, and the frustration of its most cherished 
and well-considered schemes by means of this disorder, 
should force it to return to the path of Wisdom. 

It may be remarked, with reference to Judicial Proce 
dure, that whatever respect may be due to the endea 
vour absolutely to prevent the possibility of an innocent 
person being convicted, and although this endeavour must 
never cease to be made ; yet the opposite duty, to take 
care that no guilty person remain undiscovered and un 
punished, is by no means a less important task ; that 
there is nothing to hinder the solution of both ; nay, that 
without the solution of the latter that of the former cannot 
be attained, but on the contrary that, in such a case, the 
State would be found hindering and obstructing the ac 
complishment of its own purposes. 

At this point, I, as an individual, have nothing further 
to say, but you yourselves must judge how far this influ 
ence of Legislation upon Manners has actually proceeded 
in Europe, and particularly in those parts of Europe where 
the State is most thoroughly cultivated ; wherein the de 
fect, if defect there be, consists ; and thus in what direc 
tion the New Age must proceed in its onward course. 

But be it as it may with this influence of Legislation 
upon the negative side of Public Morality, yet Public 
Manners, wherever they exist, in turn exert a powerful 
influence upon the State, and upon the mode and form of 
its Legislation. This, which we shall immediately prove, 
being presupposed, it is obvious that a course of action 
thus directed, adopted by the State in its Legislation, is 
itself but a part of the Morality of the Age, since it pro 
ceeds solely from the Manners of the Citizens, and is 
determined by them and not by Legislation as such ; and, 
since in that case it does not even restrain the State 
from injustice, such injustice being already wholly incon 
sistent with Legislation, but only guides this Legislation 


into a different course, it thus becomes the positive Mo 
rality of the State. Positive Good Manners, however, 
consist herein, that in every individual we recognise 
and honour the representative of the Human Race. This 
Morality, I said, is made possible for the State, in the 
way of its Legislation, by means of the negative Good 
Manners of its Citizens. Thus, we may lay down the 
following as the permanent fundamental principle of Cri 
minal Legislation : The more certain it is that punish 
ment will follow crime, and the more the Manners of the 
Nation are formed upon this certainty, so much the milder 
and more humane may punishment itself be made. This 
amelioration, however, is not on account of the transgressor, 
for whom as such the State has no ulterior regard ; but it 
is on account of the Race whose image he still bears in 
his person. 

For example : He who is accustomed to consider this 
matter not superficially, but in its profounder aspects, will 
unquestionably admit that an individual may become so 
dangerous to society that it is impossible for the State 
thoroughly to protect society from his aggressions without 
removing him from the world. It will, however, be like 
wise admitted unless indeed we were to proceed upon 
the barbarous Mosaic principle, an eye for an eye, and 
a -tooth for a tooth, it will, I say, be admitted that the 
State ought to adopt this method only in cases of extreme 
necessity, and where there is actually no other course avail 
able; for the transgressor still remains a member of the Race, 
and as such possesses the right to live as long as he can for 
the purpose of self-improvement. But admitting this course 
to be necessary in particular cases, yet for the Government 
to employ a pompous ceremonial in the execution of the 
condemned, to sharpen the agonies of death by torments, 
to expose the remains of the dead in a disgusting public 
spectacle, is at most only to be justified where the great 
mass of the Nation stand in need of such frightful 


exhibitions, in order that they ma} 7 be rendered less 
prone to deeds of horror upon other occasions. In a 
cultivated Age, not addicted to bloodshed, it would, in 
our opinion, be sufficient if the death -judgment were 
only pronounced in public, but carried into effect in 
secrecy and silence ; and thereafter, the body left open to 
inspection, so that any one who desired to do so might 
convince himself that the sentence had been actually 
completed. In short, the more civilized a People be 
comes, the punishment of death, and generally all pun 
ishments, must become milder and less frequent among 

This gradual amelioration of Criminal Legislation, we 
have said, is rendered possible to the State, by means of 
the improvement of Manners among the People. But, after 
this possibility has been created, what shall move and impel 
the State actually to realize that which has thus merely 
become possible? I answer: The general opinion of Europe, 
as well as, in particular, the voice of its own Citizens. 
Until it has become a part of Public Manners to recognise 
and honour in each individual man the representative of 
the Race, the People are yet disposed to deeds of violence, 
and must be held in check by means of severe and, in 
part, terrible punishments. After this principle has 
entered into Public Manners, and consequently deeds of 
violence have become less frequent, it can no longer be 
endured that any one who bears the human form, what 
ever offence he may have committed, should be tortured 
as an exhibition to the crowd ; the civilized man turns 
away his eyes with horror from the spectacle, and the 
whole world despises, as barbarous, a Government and a 
Nation which still sanctions such enormities; and thus 
the Government is impelled by its own love of honour, 
as well as that of the Nation, to keep its Criminal 
Legislation in harmony with the Spirit of the Time, and 
in so doing itself to adopt Good Manners. 


And here once more we have attained a point where I 
must appeal to your own judgment, and leave it to your 
selves to compare the Past with the Present in this respect, 
to determine at what point our own Age has arrived, and 
in what direction it must now proceed onwards. 

The inquiry which we have thus brought to a close, has 
afforded us an opportunity of ascertaining and pointing 
out in what positive public Good Manners consist. They 
consist in habitually regarding each individual, without ex 
ception, as a member of the Race, and in desiring to be so 
regarded by him ; in treating him as possessing that cha 
racter, and in desiring to be so treated by him in return. 
To regard and to be regarded, to treat and to be treated 
in return, I have said ; for both are inseparably united, 
and he who does not desire the latter will not fulfil the 
former condition. He to whom it is a matter of in 
difference what others think of him, and how they treat 
him, in those matters as to which no course of duty is 
prescribed by the Law, far from accepting their judgment 
as the judgment of the Race, despises them and casts 
them from him as worthy of no consideration. It is in 
deed unquestionably true, that any one by his own bad 
conduct may place others in such a position that they can 
entertain towards him no feeling save that of most profound 
contempt, and they would be quite justified in doing so; 
but this contempt must not be an original habit of mind ; 
it must be called forth and deserved, and in that case clear 
conviction takes the place of mere habit. 

The chief feature in our conception of Good Manners as 
above set forth is this, that every individual, without ex 
ception, merely as such, and on account of his bearing the 
human form, ought, in the event of his not having forfeited 
this character by his own misdeeds, to be recognised as a 
member and representative of the Race; or, in other 
words, that the Original Equality of all men ought to be 
the predominant and fundamental idea in all our inter- 

i a 


course with our fellow-men. Now this Equality of all 
men is the peculiar principle of Christianity ; hence the 
universal but unconscious dominion of this Christianity, 
and its acceptance as the essential actuating principle 
of public life, would be also the foundation of Good 
Manners, or rather would itself be Good Manners. 
The unconscious dominion, I have said ; that is, when it 
should be no longer publicly proclaimed, Christianity 
teaches this or that ; but when the PRINCIPLE should 
itself possess a true and living existence within the minds 
of men, and manifest itself in all their actions. 

Now, this presupposed principle has assuredly had a 
recognised existence in the world since the origin of 
Christianity, and no man acts in opposition to it because 
no man has power to do so. Before God we are all 
Equal, says many a one, and he readily admits that in 
another life we shall actually be placed upon an Equality, 
because this is a matter beyond his control, who never 
theless himself relies upon the inequality of men in this 
life, maintains this inequality with all his power, and 
endeavours to draw from it the greatest possible ad 
vantage to himself. The principle of Equality must 
therefore be applied to the earthly relations of men, if 
it is to become the source of true, active Good Manners 
among them. This can only be effected through the influ 
ence of the Perfect State which penetrates all men in the 
same manner, each in his own place, and employs them 
all as its instruments. Thus it is not the mere ideal 
dominion of Christianity, but the dominion which it 
acquires by means of the State, and which is realized in 
the State, which is true Good Manners; and the idea 
of such Good Manners may now be further defined in 
this way : Each Individual is recognised as a member 
of the Race when we regard him as an instrument of 
the State, and desire to be so regarded by him ; when 
we treat him as such, and desire to be so treated by 


him in return. We must desire to be so regarded and 
so treated by him, I have said ; but we are not entitled to 
expect or demand from him any error in this judgment, and 
therefore we must actually be, and desire to be, instruments 
of the State, and that to the same extent as he, although 
it may be in another sphere. 

The complete interpenetration of all its members by the 
State, and therewith the Equality of all men in the State, 
is first effected by means of the perfect conformity of the 
Rights of all ; and thus perfect Good Manners consist in 
the supposition of this Equality of Rights, as at least 
something which ought to come to pass, and which must 
come to pass ; in acting towards every man as if this 
must be the case, and likewise in desiring to be treated in 
return upon this supposition, and not otherwise. It is 
thus clear that Inequality of Rights is the true source of 
Bad Manners ; and the tacit assumption that we must 
continue in this state of Inequality is itself Bad Manners. 

To make this clear by farther explanation : In the first 
place, there stand opposite to each other in Society the 
opulent and cultivated Citizen-class, and the Privileged 
Classes. Among the former, it is Bad Manners, either, on 
the one hand, to set too high a value on the distinctions of 
the latter, and, going beyond those ordinary conventional 
forms of respect which every reasonable man concedes, to 
put on a slavish, submissive, and cringing behaviour to 
wards the Privileged Classes ; or, on the other hand, 
enviously to grudge them the distinctions which they 
enjoy, to indulge in bitterness of expression towards 
them, and to represent these distinctions in false and 
hateful colours, either from real antipathy, or from want 
of mature reflection. These forms of Bad Manners on 
the one part, naturally produce other forms of Bad 
Manners on the other; either by the Privileged Classes 
not spurning the unseemly homage with fitting indig 
nation, but satisfying themselves with holding in little 


esteem those who by their own conduct invite contempt; 
or by strictly repulsing every approach of the other Class, 
and carefully shutting themselves up from such contact 
in a system of narrow exclusiveness. 

How shall these two estranged Classes of the same State 
now peacefully reunite and harmonize in one and the same 
system of Good Manners? The most advantageous means 
of attaining that end would be, that they should be 
bound together by Knowledge ; and indeed that the 
Citizen-class should first find themselves in possession of 
this Knowledge, and that the communication of it should 
proceed from them. Were it at first to be an acquisition 
of the Privileged Classes, it might be feared that they 
would seek to retain exclusive possession of it, and so 
appropriate, in addition to the accidental distinctions of 
fortune, the far more important superiority of true worth. 
Of the Citizen, educated by the light of true Knowledge, 
it may be expected that he will rightly understand and 
appreciate the real meaning and value of these dis 
tinctions of the Privileged Classes, perchance as we have 
set these forth in our preceding lecture, and just upon 
that account will be as far from over-estimating as from 
grudging them. The Educated Man of the Privileged 
Classes, would acquire a new, peculiar, and personal value, 
which would powerfully dispose him to open his eyes to 
the light which true Knowledge throws upon his fortuitous 
and hereditary Privileges. To both, the distinctions which 
exist between them in matters of small moment would 
readily disappear before their Equality in those higher 
Privileges upon which they set supreme value. 

Both Classes, now united by this tie, still stand opposed 
in society to the great mass of the People who are engaged 
in mechanical arid manual labour, and who on that 
account are almost universally without that perfect in 
struction of which they stand in need. This large Class 
feels the oppression of its daily toil ; it sees that the 


Higher Classes in their copious and comfortable enjoy 
ment of life do not participate in its mechanical labours : 
but how these have also their labours and toils in other 
spheres, how they are useful and necessary for the general 
welfare, and even indispensable for the People themselves; 
and in particular, what important advantages are secured 
to the community by its own labour; all this it does 
not know, and cannot comprehend. Under these circum 
stances it cannot be but that Bad Manners should become 
a second nature to the Lower Classes, prompting them to 
regard the Higher Classes as oppressors who live upon 
their toil, and to look upon every proposition which comes 
to them from that quarter as an attempt to gain some new 
advantage over them. There is no other way by which these 
Lower Classes may be assisted, or their Bad Manners im 
proved, except by their attaining a living conviction that 
they are not made subservient to the arbitrary will of an 
individual, but to the Community as a Whole ; and even 
this only in so far as that "Whole needs their services ; 
and that all their Fellow-Citizens, without exception, to 
whatever Class they belong, stand in the same position : 
but, in order that they may arrive at this conviction, 
it is necessary that this should actually be the case ; for it 
is in vain to indulge the hope of deceiving the Lower 
Classes in matters which affect their interests. Hence 
either Equality of Rights must be actually introduced ; or 
else the Privileged Classes must constantly, publicly, 
and before the eyes of all men, act as if this Equality 
were introduced. This condition of things must be 
brought distinctly under the notice of the Lower Classes, 
and be made evident to them by their Teachers, who 
are the mediators between them and the Higher Classes, 
and who ought to be well acquainted with their language 
and ways of thinking ; in one word, the People ought 
to receive instruction, and indeed fundamental, solid, 
and convincing instruction, not in Religion only, but- 
also regarding the State, its purposes and its laws. 


To make my views clear by a distinct example : The 
great proprietor must be able thus to speak to his depend 
ants, or to enable their Teachers thus to speak for him, 
and that with truth, calling to witness the daily testimony 
of their own eyes: Although I possess as much as 
hundreds or perhaps thousands of you do together, yet 
I cannot, on that account, either eat, drink, or sleep, for 
a hundred or a thousand. The undertakings in which 
you see me daily engage; the experiments on a great 
scale with new methods of husbandry; the introduction, 
from distant lands, of new and nobler races of animals, 
new plants, new seeds; the study of their proper treat 
ment which, being hitherto unknown, has now to be 
patiently sought out ; these demand great immediate 
outlay, and the means of defraying the loss consequent 
upon possible failure. You cannot afford to do this, and 
hence it is not required of you : but that wherein I am 
successful you may learn from me, and imitate; what 
proves unsuccessful you may avoid, for I have already 
encountered the risk for you. From my herds there 
will gradually extend to yours those nobler races of ani 
mals already domesticated with me ; from my fields there 
will be propagated to yours those more profitable fruits 
already inured to the climate, with the art of their cul 
tivation already acquired and tested at my expense. It 
is true that my granaries are plentifully filled with stores 
of every kind; but to whom among you who stood in need 
of aid have they ever been closed ? who among you all 
has ever been in difficulty and I have not succoured him ? 
AVhat you do not require shall, at the first signal given by 
the State, flow forth freely to any province of our Father 
land that may feel the iron hand of want. Grudge me not 
the gold which I receive ; it shall be so expended as I 
have hitherto expended, before your eyes, all that ever I 
had; there shall not be, with my will, a single farthing of it 
applied without some gain to the cause of Human Culture. 


Moreover, if the State shall require my money for the pay 
of its armies or the support of its provinces; or the divi 
sion of my goods for the maintenance of a larger popula 
tion ; I shall be ready at all times to deliver them up into 
its hands. I promise you, you shall not see me shrink 
from my duty. Should the State not require this sacri 
fice at my hands, and should I leave my possessions to 
my children ; then I have educated them so that they 
shall use these possessions as I have used them, and 
shall teach their successors to act as I have acted, even 
to the end of time. 

Such is public and universal Good Manners. How far 
such Manners have attained dominion in our own Age, in 
those countries where the State and its Citizens have at 
tained the highest point of Culture, in comparison with 
earlier Ages ; in what respects the Age is yet defective, 
and how our Race must next proceed forward to higher 
attainments ; this I leave to the judgment of those among 
you who have opportunities of making observations upon 
this matter, and I do so the more readily that I myself have 
not possessed such opportunities, particularly as regards 
the relation of the Cultivated Classes to the People, for a 
long series of years, and in certain countries have never 
possessed them at all. I had nothing more to do than to 
set forth in general the principles upon which such a judg 
ment ought to proceed. Briefly to recount these once 
more : Herein consists the true vocation and worth of 
Man, that he, with all he is, has, and can do, should de 
vote himself to the service of the Race ; and since, and 
in so far as, the State determines the form and mode of 
the service which this Race does actually need, that he 
should devote himself to the service of the State. In 
what mode, chosen by himself, or assigned to him by the 
State, each man may do this, is of little moment, but only 
that he do it: and each one is to be honoured not accor 
ding to the mode in which he performs this service, but 


according to the extent to which he performs it in the 
mode assigned to him. Even he who may not have per 
formed it at all, or may have performed it most imper 
fectly, is yet to be respected at least as one who ought to 
perform it, who can perform it, and who perhaps one day 
will perform it; and he is to be treated according to this 
view. So also no one can lay claim to the honour and 
respect of others upon any other ground than this, and no 
pretension can justly be made to any value or influence 
with others, save only in this respect. Thus would the 
influence of the distinction of Classes in Society upon the 
conduct of those Classes towards each other be wholly ex 
tinguished, and all the Citizens of the State, and at last 
the whole Human Race, be united in equal and recipro 
cal esteem, and in a mode of conduct founded upon this 
esteem ; because such conduct would spring from a com 
mon source in which all partake in the same manner and 
in the same degree. 

( 257 ) 



ACCORDING to the plan which we laid down in an early 
part of these lectures, we have to-day to set forth the 
principles whereon this question may be answered : At 
what point of development does the Present Age stand 
with reference to Public and General Religion f 

We have already, for a considerable time, regarded the 
True Religion, or Christianity, which two expressions we 
avowedly hold to be synonymous, as the peculiar and 
ultimate ground of all the phenomena by which our Age 
is characterized ; and, in this view, the whole character of 
the Age is nothing else than this its ascertained standing- 
point in respect of Religion. The question which we have 
proposed has therefore either been already answered by 
all which we have previously said ; or if it has not been 
so answered, and still demands a special solution, then we 
must here use the word Religion in a sense different from 
that in which we have hitherto employed it. 

The latter is the case : Hitherto we have regarded the 
True Religion as the concealed principle of phenomena ; 
to-day we have to speak of it, not in this sense, but as 
itself an independent and substantial existence. Hitherto 
having represented it as the principle of phenomena, we 
-have, on that very account, also represented it as an un- 



conscious principle, and in this connexion we have called 
by the name of Religion, not that which men put forth in 
public professions, but that which has become their very 
inmost Life, the root and spring of all their speech and 
action. To-day we have to consider this Religion as it 
reveals itself in clear consciousness ; for the independent 
existence of Religion is no outward matter, and reveals 
itself in no outward manner, but is an inward conscious 
ness, and indeed a wholly self-sufficing and self-compre 
hending consciousness. 

In this sense the word Religion is also employed in the 
common judgment which the Age passes upon itself with 
reference to its religious condition, in the well-known and 
almost universal lamentations over the decay of Religion, 
especially among the people. It might well be imagined 
that the mere existence of such lamentations was itself a 
refutation of the complaint, for do not the complainers, 
in the very act of lamentation, manifest their respect and 
love for Religion ? were it not that their complaints are 
accompanied bj r certain suspicious assumptions, from which 
it appears to follow that it is not their own Irreligion which 
they deplore, and that it is not for themselves, but for 
others, and especially for the people, that they desire a 
revival of Religion : behind which desire there may per 
haps lurk some interested purpose. Be this as it may, 
let us examine these complaints, and with this examina 
tion carry forward our own inquiry. 

Without anticipating the results of your own obser 
vation, we may lay it down as certain, that whatever 
necessarily follows in regard to Public Religion from the 
principles of the Age will unquestionably be found truly 
represented and manifest in the phenomena of the time. 
Now, we have shown in passing, in our previous lecture, 
that the principles from which the Public Religion of an 
Age proceeds, are to be found in the Scientific, and 
particularly in the Philosophical character of the pre- 


ceding Age. In the schools of Philosophy and Science, 
the popular teacher, the popular author, and the public 
opinion of the cultivated classes, are formed, and through 
these channels the influences of the schools spread them 
selves abroad, by teaching and example, among the People. 
The Philosophico-scientific character of the Third Age 
has been already set forth at the commencement of these 
lectures; this, namely, to accept nothing as really existing 
or obligatory but that which it can understand and clearly 
comprehend, in which the Age is right; and further, to 
connect therewith mere empirical and sensuous Experience as 
its sole measure of the Comprehensible, in which the Age 
is wrong. It is quite clear, that by means of the pre 
valence of these principles everything mysterious and 
incomprehensible must be banished from Religion ; and 
since the fear of God, as well as the means of propiti 
ating him, are founded on the Incomprehensibility and 
Unsearchableness of the Divine Counsels, and we can 
therefore be made acquainted with these means only by 
direct Revelation, that everything awful in Religion, as 
well as blind faith and unquestioning obedience in its 
concerns, must wholly disappear. An Age, therefore, which 
is formed upon those principles, and thoroughly pene 
trated by them, will no longer be moved by the fear of 
God, nor employ any ostensible and pretentious means 
of propitiating him. 

But is this fear of God, and these efforts to propitiate 
him by means of mysterious devices, are these Religion 
and Christianity ? By no means : they are Super 
stitions, remnants of Heathenism which have mixed 
themselves up with Christianity, and have not yet been 
wholly thrust out from it; and these remnants are 
wholly destroyed by the Philosophy of the Age wherever 
it lias free play. Along with them True Christianity 
itself is, not indeed destroyed, for except in individuals 
it has never yet attained a public and recognised exis- 


tence, but the Age is thereby rendered incapable of 
comprehending True Christianity or of introducing it 
into the world. 

Does any one lament this downfall of Superstition as the 
decay of Religion? then he violates the true use of language, 
and laments over that in which he ought to rejoice, and 
which is indeed a brilliant proof of the advancement of 
our Age. On what account, then, are these lamentations 
made ? Since the thing which lias fallen has nothing in 
itself to recommend it, it must be only the outward conse 
quences of its fall that are deplored. In so far as these 
lamentations do not proceed from the priests themselves, 
(in this connexion we may call them priests without fear of 
misapprehension), whose grief at the loss of their dominion 
over the minds of men we can well understand, but 
from the politicians, then they may be resolved into this, 
that Government has thereby become more difficult and 
expensive. The fear of the Gods was an excellent resource 
for an imperfect Government; it was a convenient thing to 
watch the doings of the subjects through the eyes of the 
Divinity, where the Government either could not or would 
not exercise this surveillance itself; the Judge was spared 
the exercise of his own sagacity and penetration, when, by 
threats of relentless damnation, he could induce the accused 
to communicate to him willingly the information he desired 
to possess; and the Evil Spirit performed, without reward, 
the services for which, at later times, Judges and Police 
had to be paid. 

To declare frankly what we clearly perceive to be true, 
let us here say that, even if the maintenance of such a 
method of facilitating Government were allowable, which it 
is not, yet this increase of the burden of Government is 
no evil, but a precious good in which Humanity at large 
must sooner or later become partaker. Government itself 
is an Art founded on the laws of Reason, which ought not 
to be prosecuted at random, but must, on the contrary, 


be rightly and fundamentally studied ; but to this fun 
damental study we are only impelled by necessity, and 
only at a time when Government can no longer be carried 
on by superficiality. 

Thus the philosophical and scientific sense of the Age 
overthrows Superstition when it is thoroughly recognised 
and understood ; but cannot as yet establish True Reli 
gion in its place in distinct Consciousness. Hence in 
such an Age, there is no longer to be found any clear 
and distinct conception of a Super-sensual world, either 
true or false. 

Suppose then that such is actually the case, that these 
inferences are confirmed by observation, which here again I 
leave to yourselves to follow out, would it necessarily fol 
low, because the Super-sensual is nowhere dearly compre 
hended, that the indistinct feeling of the Infinite, and the 
struggling and striving after its attainment no longer 
exist ; in one word, that with Religion itself, the sense of 
Religion, or Religious Feeling, has likewise disappeared ? 
By no means. It may be laid down as an incontestable 
principle, that where even Virtue and Good Manners 
still prevail, philanthropy, the charities of social life, 
sympathy, benevolence, domestic order, the faithful and 
self-sacrificing attachment of husband and wife, parents 
and children, there Religion still exists whether re 
cognised or not ; and there the capacity still exists for 
its attaining a full and conscious being. Such a people 
can indeed no longer entertain those Superstitions 
whose empire has passed away ; but let the attempt be 
made to awaken in them clear and true Ideas of Religion, 
and it will soon be seen that they will be moved by these 
as bv nothing else. And has not this, in fact, occasionally 
occurred in Modern Times? and has it not been remarked 
upon such occasions that men of all Classes, who seemed 
to be dead to every other spiritual influence, have been 
attracted and aroused bv this ? Very far, therefore, from 


joining in the lamentations over the decay of Eeligion in 
our Age, I hold this rather to be the character of the Age, 
that it would be more ready than any other to receive 
and appreciate True Eeligion when presented to it. The 
empty and ineffectual babble of Free-thinking has had time 
enough to utter itself in all possible ways ; it has uttered 
itself and we have listened to it; and on this side there is 
nothing new and nothing letter to be said than what has 
been said already. We are weary of it; we feel its empti 
ness and its perfect nothingness with reference to that Feel 
ing of the Eternal which can never be wholly uprooted from 
pur souls. This Feeling remains, and urgently demands 
its rightful exercise. A more manly Philosophy has since 
then attempted to silence this Feeling by asserting the 
claims of another, that of Absolute Morality, under 
the name of the Categorical Imperative. Many power 
ful minds have accepted this principle, and rested satisfied 
with it : but this can endure only for a time, for pre 
cisely on account of a kindred feeling being cultivated 
does that which is unsatisfied feel more strongly the 
want of its satisfaction. Let Truth at last present itself 
to such a mind; then, just because it has been inactive, 
and has already passed through so many errors, will it 
the more keenly discern and the more cordially accept the 
Truth which is now offered to its view. That such Truth will 
one day present itself to the public mind we may securely 
predict; for it is already prepared in the secret workshops 
of Philosophy although still in the obscurity of formula, 
and already exists in the primitive records of Christianity 
although as yet not understood. How, and by what means 
it shall be introduced into the world we must leave to 
Time, looking forward with quiet confidence, and not ex 
pecting to see the harvest ready for the reaper while as 
yet the seed is but being sown. 

Wherein, then, does this True Religion consist? Perhaps 
I shall be able to describe it most clearly if I show what it 


accomplishes, and if I do this by declaring what it does 
not accomplish. All previous outward forms of Christianity 
have had the effect of bringing Mankind, and in particular 
Nations and States, thus far : that they have done many 
things which they would otherwise have left undone, and 
have left undone many things which otherwise they would 
have done; and in particular Superstition has constrained 
its subjects to abandon many pernicious, and to adopt 
many useful, practices. In one word : these outward forms 
of Christianity lie at the bottom of many phenomena and 
events which would otherwise never have occurred. It is 
not so with inward True Religion; it does not come forth 
into the world of outward Appearance, and impels man to 
no outward act which he would not otherwise have done. 
But it completes his own internal being, makes him 
wholly at one with himself, and intelligible to himself, 
thoroughly Free and Blessed : in one word, it perfects 
his dignity. 

Let us consider the highest which man can possess in 
the absence of Religion ; I mean, Pure Morality. He obeys 
the Law of Duty in his breast, absolutely because it is a 
Law unto him; and he does whatever reveals itself as his 
Duty, absolutely because it is Duty. But does he therein 
understand himself? does he know what this Duty, to 
which at every moment he consecrates his whole existence, 
really is in itself and what is its ultimate aim ? So little 
does he know this, that he declares loudly it ought to be 
so absolutely because it ought; and makes this very impos 
sibility of comprehending and understanding the Law, 
this absolute abstraction from the meaning of the Law, and 
the consequences of the deed, a characteristic mark of 
genuine obedience. In the first place, let not the im 
pudent assertion be here repeated, that such an obedience 
without regard to consequences, and without desire for 
consequences, is in itself impossible and opposed to 
Human Nature. What does the mere sensuous Egoist, 


who is himself but a half man, what does he know of 
the power of Human Nature ? That it is possible can 
be known only by its actual accomplishment in ourselves; 
and before its possibility is recognised in this way, and 
man has elevated himself in his own person to Pure 
Morality, he can have no entrance whatever into the 
domain of True Religion ; for Religion also annexes no 
visible consequences to individual acts of Duty. So much 
for the refutation of that portion of error which arises 
from the calumnious slander of Pure Morality. 

Again, he who faithfully obeys the Law of Duty, as 
such, does not understand the ultimate aim of this Law. 
It is clear, since he, notwithstanding this ignorance, 
maintains an unvarying and unconditional obedience ; 
since, further, the Law of Duty, although not understood, 
speaks forth constantly and invariably within him, 
that this want of comprehension causes no difference in 
his actions ; but it is another question whether such a 
want of comprehension is consistent with his dignity as 
a rational being. He does not indeed any longer follow 
the concealed law of the Universe nor the blind im 
pulses of Nature, but a conception, and in doing so 
he acts, thus far, a nobler part. But this conception 
itself is not clear to him, and, with reference to it, he 
himself is blind ; his obedience therefore remains but 
a blind obedience ; he is led on by a nobler instinct 
indeed, but still with bandaged eyes. But if this posi 
tion be inconsistent with the dignity of Reason, as it 
unquestionably is, and if there lie in Reason itself a 
power and therefore an impulse to penetrate to the 
meaning of the Law of Duty, then will this impulse be 
a source of constant disturbance and dissatisfaction to 
him, and if he still continue to hold by blind obedience, 
lie will have no other course than to harden himself against 
this secret desire. However perfect may be his conduct, 
that is, his outw,ard and apparent existence, there is still 


at the root of his inward being, discord, obscurity, and 
bondage, and therefore a want of absolute dignity. Such is 
the position even of the purely Moral Man, when regard 
ed by the light of Eeligion. How displeasing, then, as 
seen by this light, must be the condition of him who 
has not even attained to True Morality, but as yet only 
follows the impulses of Nature. He too is guided by 
the Eternal Law of the Universe; but to him it neither 
speaks in his own language nor honours him with speech 
at all, but leads him on with dumb compulsion as it 
does the plant or the animal ; employs him like an un 
reasoning thing, without consulting his own Will in 
aught, and in a region where mere mechanism is the 
only moving power. 

Religion discloses to Man the significance of the one 
Eternal Law which, as the Law of Duty, guides the free 
and noble, and, as the Law of Nature, governs ignoble 
instruments. The Religious Man comprehends this Law, 
and feels it living within himself, as the Law of the 
Eternal development of the One Life. How each indi 
vidual moment of our Earthly Life is comprehended in 
that Eternal development of the one original Divine 
Life he cannot indeed understand, because the Infinite 
has no limit and therefore can never be embraced by 
him ; but that every one of these moments does absolutely 
lie contained within this development of the One Life 
he can directly perceive and clearly recognise. What 
was the Law of Duty to the Moral Man, is to him the 
inward movement of the One Life directly revealed a,s 
Life; what is the Law of Nature to others is to him 
the unfolding of the outward and apparently dead sub 
stratum of that One Life. 

This one clearly recognised Life now becomes thoroughly 
established in the Religious Man, reposing upon itself, suffi 
cient for itself, and blessed in itself; dwelling there with 
unspeakable Love ; with inconceivable rapture bathing his 



whole being in the original fountain of all Life, and flow 
ing forth with him, and inseparable from him, in one eternal 
stream. What the Moral Man calls Duty and Law, what 
is.this to him ? The most spiritual bloom of Life, his 
element in which alone he can breathe. He wills andean 
do nothing else than this ; all else is to him misery and 
death. To him the commanding " Thou shalt" comes too 
late; before it can command he has already resolved, and 
cannot resolve otherwise. As all external Law vanishes 
before Morality, so before Religion the internal Law also 
disappears; the Lawgiver in our breast is silent, for Will, 
Desire, Love, and Blessedness, have already superseded the 
Law. The Moral Man often finds it difficult to perform his 
Duty; the sacrifice of his deepest desires and his most 
cherished feelings is demanded of him. He performs it 
notwithstanding: it must be done; he subdues his feel 
ings, and stifles his agony. The question, Wherefore is 
there need of this suffering, and whence arises this 
struggle between the desires which have been implanted 
in him and the commands of a Law from which he 
cannot escape ? this question he dares not permit him 
self to entertain ; he must offer himself up with mute 
and blind obedience, for only under the condition of such 
obedience is the offering genuine. For the Religious 
Man this question has been once and for ever solved. 
That which thus strives against our Will, and which is 
so unwilling to die, is imperfect Life ; which, even be 
cause it is Life, struggles for continued existence, but 
must cease to be as soon as its place is occupied by a 
higher and nobler Life. Those desires which I must 
sacrifice/ thinks the Religious Man, are not rny desires; 
they are desires which are directed against me and my 
higher existence; they are my foes which cannot be de 
stroyed too soon. The pain which they cause is not my 
pain, but the pain of a nature which has conspired against 
me ; it is not the agonies of death, but the pangs of a 


new birth which will be glorious beyond all my . ex 

It would be unworthy of our picture of Religion were 
we still specially to repeat and insist that to it there 
is no longer anything displeasing and deformed in the 
world, but that all things there, without exception, are 
to it a source of the purest Blessedness. Whatever ex 
ists, as it exists and because it exists, labours in the 
service of the Eternal Life, and in the system of this 
development so it must be. To desire, wish, or love 
anything otherwise than as it is, would be either to 
desire no Life at all, or else to desire Life in a less 
perfect manifestation. 

Religion elevates him who is devoted to her service above 
Time as such, above the Transient and the Perishable, and 
puts him in immediate possession of Eternit} r . On the 
one original Divine Life his eye reposes; there his love is 
rooted ; whatever seems to be beyond this one original Life, 
is not beyond it but within it, and is merely a temporary 
form of its development according to an absolute Law which 
likewise lies within itself; he sees all things only in and 
through this one original Life, and in every individual 
life he sees the whole Infinite Universe of Being. His 
view is thus always the view of the Eternal, and what 
he sees, he sees as Eternal and in the Eternal : nothing can 
truly be which is not, even on that very account, Eternal 
Every fear of perishing in death, every effort to discover 
an artificial proof of the immortality of the soul, lies far 
beneath him. In every moment of his existence he has 
immediate possession of the Eternal Life with all its 
Blessedness ; and he needs no argument or inference to 
prove the truth of that which he possesses in ever-present 
consciousness. There is no more striking proof that the 
knowledge of the True Religion has hitherto been very 
rare among men, and that in particular it is a stranger in 
the prevailing systems, than this, that they universally 


place Eternal Blessedness beyond the grave, and never 
for a moment imagine that whoever will, may here, and 
at once, be Blessed. 

This is the True Religion. What we maintained above, 
that this Religion never comes forth in outward 
manifestation, nor reveals itself in external results, but 
is only the perfection of man s inward being, this has 
been thoroughly confirmed by our delineation. The 
Religious Man, indeed, does all those things without ex 
ception which the Law of Duty enjoins ; but he does 
them not as a Religious Man, for he was already bound 
to do them, independently of all Religion, as a purely 
Moral Man ; as a Religious Man, he does the same 
things, but he does them with a nobler, freer inspira 
tion. We must, however, necessarily pass through Pure 
Morality before we can attain Religion ; for Religion is the 
Love of the Divine Life and Will, and he who obeys this 
Will reluctantly can never love it. By Morality we are 
first trained to obedience ; and from habitual obedience 
Love arises as its sweetest fruit and reward. 

But how shall our poor perplexed and harassed Human 
Race ever attain this Religion, and by its means be brought 
into this haven of secure repose ? Some conditions 
which must previously be brought about we can easily 
indicate. In the first place, the Civil condition of the 
State and its internal and external peace must be firmly 
established. The empire of Good Manners must have 
commenced ; the State must have no longer to struggle 
with its own necessities, or to impose them on its Citi 
zens ; this is necessary in order that quiet and leisure 
may be obtained. According to what we have said in 
our previous discourses, all this has already come to pass 
by means of Christianity as the fundamental principle 
of modern times ; and in that same principle we have the 
assurance that this progress will still continue, and be 
carried out into farther and yet more perfect results. In 


this respect Christianity itself, by means of its external 
relations, has fashioned and prepared the world on which it 
is destined to burst forth with all its inward and essen 
tial nobleness ; and our whole view of modern times has 
thus acquired a new significance, and the keystone has 
been placed on the completed structure of our inquiry. 

In this state of order and tranquillity Mankind, or at 
least a large portion of them, must necessarily elevate them 
selves, in the first place, to Pure Morality. At this point, 
the power of the State, and the unconscious influence of 
Christianity in its external relations, come to an end. The 
State, as we have already seen, can impel its Citizens to 
negative Good Manners by means of Legislation and Go 
vernment, and to positive Good Manners by means of the 
establishment of Equal Rights for all ; and it may thus 
remove the most powerful obstacles to the development of 
Pure Morality; but it cannot impel them to this Morality 
itself, for the source of this lies within themselves, in 
their own minds, and in their own free will. 

How much less then does it lie within the power of the 
State again to raise the great mass of its Citizens, or at 
least a large portion of them, from this generally diffused 
Morality to the higher dignity of True Religion. Whatever 
may be done in future times for the diffusion of this True 
Religion by great men whose hearts may be powerfully 
animated by its presence, whatever these may do as in 
dividuals, the State, as such, must never propose this 
purpose to itself; for its efforts would unavoidably prove 
abortive, and produce something quite different from the 
end desired. Indeed, I may add that no State will pro 
pose this purpose to itself, for the maxim which we have 
now laid down will one day be universally recognised. 

How then shall an impulse arise by which Mankind may 
be moved to the acknowledgment and diffusion of True 
Religion ? I answer, in the same way that all progress in 
Religious Knowledge has hitherto been brought about; 


by Individual Men, who, although as yet but partially 
and imperfectly, have still by one point or other of 
Religion been attracted, animated, and inspired, and 
have possessed the gift of communicating their inspir 
ation to others. Such, in the beginning of modern times, 
were the Reformers : such, in later days, when almost 
the whole of Religion was placed in the maintenance 
of orthodox systems of Theology, and the inward Reli 
gion of the heart was cast forth and neglected, were the 
so-called Pietistic Teachers, who gained an unquestionable 
victory ; for what is the whole modern Theology, which 
would reduce the Bible to the level of its own shallow 
and superficial understanding, but a corruption of the 
view of the Pietists, retaining the contempt which these 
Teachers entertained for the orthodox systems of The 
ology, but casting aside the holiness of Feeling by which 
they were guided ? And so in our own Age, when it 
has somewhat recovered and composed itself from the 
manifold errors with which it has been perplexed and 
harassed, will Inspired Men arise and bring to it that of 
which it stands in need. 

We have finished the task which we proposed to 
ourselves : we have delineated, briefly and succinctly as 
was our purpose, the Characteristics of the Present Age 
contemplated from those essential principles which belong 
to all Time. There remains nothing further for us to do 
but to add a conclusion to the whole. Permit me, for 
this purpose, to invite you here once again. 

(271 ) 



IN the preceding Lectures we have delineated the Present 
Age as a necessary part of the great World-Plan on which 
the Earthly Life of our Race is arranged, and have endea 
voured to disclose its secret significance ; we have sought 
to understand the phenomena of the Present by means of 
this Idea, to bring them forth as the necessary results of 
the Past, and to predict their immediate consequences in 
the Future : and if we have succeeded in this our under 
taking, we have then understood our Age. We have been 
engaged in these contemplations without thought of our 
selves or of our own position. Speculation warns every 
inquirer, and with good reason, against this self-forgetful- 
ness. To show the justice of this warning in our own case : 
Should our view of the Present Age prove to have been 
a view taken from the standing-point of this Age itself, 
should the eye which has taken this view have been itself 
a product of the Age which it has surveyed, then has the 
Age borne witness to itself and such testimony must be 
set aside ; and so far from having explored its signifi 
cance, we have only added to the number of its phenomena 
a most superfluous and unproductive one. Whether this 
has been our position or not, can only be determined by a 
retrospect of our previous inquiry ; and this retrospect can 


only be accomplished by placing our inquiry before us as 
itself a phenomenon of Time, and indeed of that Age in 
which it has occurred, namely, the Present. 

But however indispensable it is, in every mental occu 
pation, that we should not lose sight of ourselves, it is yet 
most difficult to do this, particularly to do it aloud ; that 
is, to speak of ourselves. Not indeed that I should find 
any serious difficulty in speaking of me, the particular in 
dividual who now addresses you. In the Introductory 
Lecture, when I first sought to combine and establish this 
audience, I spoke without hesitation of myself, what I be 
lieve no one has ever taken amiss, and what I do not regret 
having spoken ; but now, at the conclusion of my task, I 
know not how to utter one word respecting myself which 
shall be worthy of utterance. The question is not of me ; 
it is not I who have desired to think and to inquire : 
had my thought or inquiry been a matter of any moment, 
I could have accomplished that without saying aught to 
any one on the subject ; but from such self-contemplation 
no result for the world could ensue ; for what the Individual 
thinks, or does not think, constitutes no event for his Age ; 
but it is We, as one company devoted to this purpose, 
and borne on to unity of thought in absolute forgetfulness 
of our own individual persons, (as we have often before 
given outward manifestation of this unity of thought, and 
do so now) it is \Ye who have desired to think and to 
inquire ; and it is to this we, and by no means to my 
self, that I refer when I speak of this mental retrospect of 
ourselves, and of the difficulty of accomplishing it aloud 
and in public speech. So much in that case strives for 
utterance which each of us would more fitly think for him 
self, that an incautious man might be misled into touch 
ing upon subjects which modesty would rather leave un 
touched, and into urging upon the attention considerations 
which are offensive to Uncultivated mind, not on their 
own account, but because they are spoken on the suppo- 


sit ion that those to whom they are addressed cannot make 
them for themselves. As I have hitherto, I believe, 
kept myself free from this sort of eloquence, which 
indeed is permitted only to one class to which I do not 
belong, I hope I shall continue to avoid it, even to 
the end. 

I have said that we shall to-day take a retrospect of our 
previous inquiry, and of the theory which lias been its 
result our theory not mine as I have already explained ; 
especially in order that we may be assured that this 
theory is not itself a product of the Present Age, the 
influence of the Age upon us being hidden from our view. 
To this end I maintain, that this theory is assuredly 
no product of our own Age if, in the first place, it be not 
a product of any Age whatever, but lies beyond all 
Time; and also (since in that case it might prove absolutely 
empty and without significance, and so disappear in mere 
vacuity and nothingness) if, in the second place, it become 
the root and principle of living vitality in a New Age. 

In the first place, that we may be able to determine 
whether our now completed theory does actually lie be 
yond all Time, let us inquire what has been the nature of 
this theory, considered in its essential elements, and to 
what chief department of human thought it has be 
longed ? I answer : It was a Religious Theory ; all 
our contemplations were Religious contemplations, and 
our view of things, and the eye which embraced that 
view, were Religious. 

According to the thought which, directly or indirectly, 
distinctly or obscurely, has animated all our previous 
discourses, and, in our last discourse especially, has been 
considered on all sides; according, to this thought, I 
say, RELIGION consists in regarding and recognising all 
Earthly Life as a necessary development of the one, 
original, perfectly good and perfectly blessed Divine 
Life. Now, it is first of all quite clear that this view 

m a 


does not consist in the mere perception or contempla 
tion of life, or of anything else, and that it cannot arise 
from such perception or contemplation. By the most 
careful observation of phenomena we can go no further 
than to know that so and so is the case, but by no means 
to reject or disallow this as mere appearance, and to seek 
a higher significance behind it. The Religious mode of 
thought can thus never be the result of mere observa 
tion of the world, since, on the contrary, this mode of 
thought rests on the imperative maxim not to accept 
this world and all Earthly Life in it as in itself true and 
real existence, but to assume another Higher Existence 
superior to the world. This maxim must be developed 
in the mind itself, as an essential element originally 
implanted there; and no man can ever arrive at this 
truth by mere empirical observation, since it entirely 
abolishes empirical observation as the highest and de 
cisive test of reality. It is clear that this maxim stands 
in direct opposition to the principle which we have in 
dicated as that which guides the thought of our Age; that 
this thought can never attain to it; and that, by means 
of the very first supposition of something higher than the 
World, we raise ourselves above such an Age and cease to 
be its product. In short, not mere observation, but Pure 
Thought, in itself and by itself, is the first element of 
Religion. In the language of the schools : Metaphysic, 
that is, the Super-sensual, is the element of Religion. 
From the beginning of the world down to the present 
day Religion, whatever shape it ma,y have assumed, 
has been Metaphysic ; and he who despises and derides 
Metaphysic, that is, everything a priori, either knows 
not what he means, or else he despises and derides 

Are we set free from this limitation and bondage in the 
Apparent ? then the next step towards the attainment of 
True Religion is our second maxim : To place the foun- 

O J- 


dation of the world neither in Chance, which in other words 
is to accept a foundation of the world and yet not to ac 
cept it ; nor in blind Necessity, which in other words is 
to accept an absolutely inconceivable and dead foundation 
of the world, and of all the life in the world ; nor yet 
in a living, but evil, capricious, and man-hating Cause, 
as Superstition has done at all times in a greater or 
less degree ; but in the One, absolutely and unchange 
ably good, Divine Existence. We said that our first 
maxim, not to accept Apparent Existence in Time as in 
itself true and real, but to assume a Higher Existence 
beyond it, must be developed within the mind itself; 
and even so our second maxim, to regard this Higher 
Existence as Life, and as a good and Blessed Life, 
must likewise be developed in the mind itself as an in 
herent element originally implanted there. At most, we 
can only receive help from without by the communication 
of such thoughts from others with the invitation to test 
them by our own sense of Truth ; by which, if it be but 
rightly interrogated, and if the mass of preexisting errors 
and prejudices be not too powerful, they will doubtless be 
confirmed. There is no logical means by which this insight 
may be forced upon man, for even the dullest and rudest 
form of mere Egoism is consistent in itself, and he who i 
determines with stiff-necked obstinacy to abide there 
cannot be compelled to quit it. 

In a word, as we have already clearly set forth in our 
last Lecture, In the view of Keligion, all the phenomena 
of Time, without exception, are regarded as necessary and 
progressive developments of the One, Ever-blessed, Original 
Divine Life, and hence each individual phenomenon is re 
garded as the necessary condition of a higher and more 
perfect life in Time which shall arise from it. Now, 
and this is to be particularly remarked, this one, essen 
tially abiding and unchanging view of Religion, is itself 
divided in its form, and assumes a double aspect. Namely, 


we may either possess only a general insight into the 
fact, that, since all life manifested in Time can be nothing 
else than a development of the Divine Life, so also the 
particular phenomenon which may be in question is ne 
cessarily a development of this Divine Life : ihefact, I 
say, that such is the case, without any conception of how 
and in what way it is so ; and this form of Religion we 
may name the RELIGION OF REASON, which lies beyond all 
understanding and all conception, although its clearness 
and certainty do not on that account suffer the slightest 
abatement : The Religion of Reason, we style it, for it is 
the mere acceptance of ike fact, without comprehension 
of the manner of the fact. Or, in the second place, we may 
understand and conceive how and in what way the phe 
nomenon in question may be the development of a Higher 
Life ; the more perfect development which is to proceed 
from it may present itself to sight, and the phenome 
non in question may then be recognised, clearly and 
distinctly, as the necessary foundation from which the 
actual progression has arisen ; and this latter form of 
Religion may be named the RELIGION OF THE UNDER 
STANDING. These two forms embrace the whole domain 
of Religion ; the Religion of Reason encompassing both 
its extremities, while the Religion of the Understanding 
occupies the centre. How each individual Human Being 
as such, and his particular fortunes, connect themselves with 
the Eternal, this, as the lower extremity of the domain of 
Religion, cannot be comprehended; and as little, how this 
whole present and introductory Life of our Race is related 
to the infinite series of Future Life and determined 
thereby, as little, I say, can this, as the higher extremity 
of the domain of Religion, be comprehended by us ; but 
that they are altogether good and necessary for the 
Perfect Life, is distinctly apparent to the Religious Man. 
On the other hand, the significance of this first Earthly 
Life of the Race, considered in itself and apart from all 


other Life, and as the Life of the Race not individual 
Life, this, as the middle sphere of this domain of Reli 
gion, may be conceived and has been conceived by us; 
and on the same ground, it may be conceived how each 
of the necessary Epochs of this Earthly Life is related 
to the whole, and what is the particular significance of 
each in itself. Here, therefore, lies the domain of the 
Religion of the Understanding ; and this domain we 
have traversed in our inquiry, putting forward the Epoch 
in which we live as its clearest and most intelligible point. 
The question, What has been the nature of our inquiry, 
is answered. What we have done is this: we have 
raised ourselves into the domain of Religion by that way 

which is the most easy and accessible to our Ao-e, the 

way of Understanding. So surely as our inquiry has 
been a Religious inquiry, it has been no product of our 
own Age but has transcended all Ages and all Time; 
so surely as it has applied itself especially to the domi 
nant principle of our own Age, it has raised itself from 
the level of this particular Age above all Time. The 
greatest obstacle to reflection is when a man no longer 
hesitates or stumbles at anything, no longer wonders at 
anything, and no longer seeks any explanation of sur 
rounding phenomena. Of all the wonders that surround 
a man in this condition of indifference, whatever touches 
him however slightly because it has a direct influence 
on his own personal weal or woe, is that which lies 
nearest to him among the events of the Time. But what 
cultivated mind has not sometimes at least pondered in 
astonishment over those wonderful phenomena, demanded 
the meaning of them, and earnestly longed for a solution 
of its questionings ? Without allowing ourselves to be 
occupied with trifles, which often fall within the domain 
of the absolutely unintelligible, or even when they are 
intelligible lead to nothing great, we have considered 
and characterized the Age broadly and as a whole ; but 


so that none of the members of this assembly will be apt 
to find anything passed over which specially interests him. 
We have characterized it in a rational and religious 
frame of mind, regarding all things as necessary parts 
of the whole, and as securely leading to nobler and more 
perfect results. 

Thus there can be no doubt that our inquiry has tran 
scended the limitations of Time. But this alone does not 
satisfy us. That it is no product, no favourite opinion, 
no mere prejudice of our Age, is well: but is it not 
perhaps a mere nonentity, a deceptive show, a dream 
disappearing in the empty void of Time, and having no 
existence in True and Real Time ? We have now to 
set forth the principles upon which this second question 
must be answered. 

To this empty void of Time belongs everything which 
is adopted for the purpose of mere pastime, or, what is 
the same thing, for the satisfaction of curiosity founded 
upon no earnest desire of knowledge. Pastime is but 
an empty waste, interposed between times devoted to 
serious occupations. At the opening of these Lectures 
I undertook nothing more than that I should occupy 
your thoughts for a few hours of this winter in a man 
ner neither unseemly nor disagreeable : more I could 
not promise reckoning on myself alone ; and to promise 
even this unconditionally was itself a hazard, for com 
munication upon my part presupposed the power of re 
ceiving such a communication upon yours, and a definite 
communication presupposed a definite degree and form of 
this receptive power. If you have taken me altogether at 
my own word in this matter, then you may now congratu 
late yourselves that you have, in the course of this winter, 
got rid of sixteen or seventeen hours of idleness by means 
of a new amusement which has at least proved good, pro 
fitable, and wholesome ; and against this I have nothing 
to say. But in this^case, it is quite certain that these 


sixteen or seventeen hours have been to you not true 
but mere empty and vacant Time. 

To True and Real Time belongs everything which 
becomes the necessary principle, foundation and cause 
of new and hitherto non-existent phenomena in Time ; 
for the first characteristic of true Life is to create other 
Life from itself. That which by means of these in 
quiries might become such a principle was the ruling 
tendency and practice of contemplating all things without 
exception from the Religious point of view. Now it is 
impossible that this principle should have been im 
planted within us, for the first time, by means of the 
contemplations which have occupied us for a few hours 
of this winter. In the first place, we have already re 
marked that this principle cannot be communicated to 
manfrom without, but must have its root originally within 
his own being, and has actually such an inward existence in 
all men without exception; and in the second place, we 
have not been able to avail ourselves of nearly the whole 
of the means which might have been employed to awaken 
and call forth this principle. The whole artificial train 
ing of the school, the systematic rise and overthrow of 
each objection, the gradual upturning of every branch of 
error by the roots; further, the profound and lengthened 
course of study, and the artificial development of the 
power of thought, which are presupposed in these things; 
all these could not here be employed ; and thus, the 
Religious Sense could not here be implanted, nor even 
for the first time awakened and called forth. It was 
presupposed that this Religious Sense had already made 
its appearance, and manifested its genial and invigorat 
ing influence in all the minds who have taken part in 
our inquiries, and only slumbered under the concealment 
of the numerous and incessant occupations and distrac 
tions of life and its every-day occurrences. To this sense, 
asleep but not dead, we were able confidently to appeal, 


just as each of you might have done for himself, had he 
had time and aptitude for meditation on matters of this 
description. It became my business to apply a portion of 
my time to the production and adjustment of such a dis 
course as each of you might have addressed to himself, and 
which he must actually address to himself at last, testing 
it by his own sense of Truth, if it is really to be addressed 
to him at all. At most, I could thus only lend some assist 
ance to my hearers, by removing the opposition between 
their spiritual condition at the time when the Religious 
Sense first developed itself within them, and that in which 
they now stand ; by separating distinctly and forcibly this 
Religious Sense itself, which is at all times essentially one 
and the same, from the casual and diverse limitations 
which surrounded its first development, and planting it, 
beyond these limitations, into their present state of mental 

There is, in the first place, one good criterion by which 
we may arrive at a preliminary solution at least of the 
question we have proposed, Whether the considerations 
which we have here set forth have been mere empty 
verbiage, or intellectual conceits, serviceable at most to 
pass away an idle hour? or whether they have come 
home to something already living within ourselves ? 
this, namely, if we have been conscious that our own 
long - cherished presentiments and feelings have here 
been distinctly spoken forth, and that we ourselves had 
previously thought of the matter almost exactly as it 
has been here expounded ; then we may be sure that 
something already living within us has been touched. 
This, I say, is but a preliminary and even but a par 
tially decisive criterion. It is indecisive on the following 
account : one man may cordially assent to it in whom 
only a fugitive scientific or aesthetic pleasure has been 
excited, which indeed may manifest itself in a more con 
sistent view of the world, or in more inspired productions 


of Art, but can never enter into the inmost recesses 
of the mind : another man may gainsay it, because he 
goes to its consideration full of scientific prejudices, who 
does nevertheless give his assent to it at bottom, and 
he may gainsay it the more vehemently the more he is 
irritated and chagrined by the secret harmony which 
reigns between his own mind and that which, according 
to his theory, must be error ; but, his whole character 
and mode of thinking being penetrated with this har 
mony, his conduct stands in opposition to his theory, 
until at last this theory itself, no longer receiving any 
nourishment from the heart, fades and falls away like 
withered leaves. 

But the sure and perfectly decisive criterion whether 
something already living within us has here been touched, 
and that so powerfully that it can never again fall back 
into slumber, for in that case the present awakening 
would again need a new revival which could never be 
anticipated with certainty, the present being worthless 
but for the future awakening, without which it would 
disappear in mere empty Time; the sure and perfectly 
decisive criterion of this question, I say, is this: Whether 
the Life which has thus been called forth do ceaselessly 
extend itself, and become the source and foundation of 
New Life. 

In our last lecture, we have clearly shown that True 
Religion does not manifest itself outwardly, and does not 
impel man to any course of external conduct which he 
would not otherwise have adopted, but that it only com 
pletes his true Inward Being and dignity. It is neither an 
action, nor an incentive to action, but insight : it is 
LIGHT, and the One True Light, which bears within it 
all Life and all the forms of Life, and pervades their 
innermost substance. Once arisen, this Light flows on 
spontaneously for ever, spreading itself forth without term 
or limit ; and it is as idle to bid it shine as it would be 

n a 


to address such a command to the material sun when 
it stands in the noon-day heavens. It does this without 
our bidding; if it shine not, then it has nob arisen. At 
its uprising darkness, and the brood of spectres and 
phantasms which are born of darkness, vanish of them 
selves. It is in vain to say to darkness, Let there 
be Light! no Light can come forth from it, for there 
is none within it. As vain is it to say to man lost in 
the Transitory and Perishable, Raise thine eyes to the 
Eternal ! he has no eye for the Eternal; his eye is it 
self transitory and perishable, and reflects only the Transi 
tory and Perishable. But let the Light itself burst forth, 
then the darkness becomes visible, retires, and draws off 
like shadows across the field. The darkness is the 
thoughtlessness, the frivolity, the fickleness of men. 
Where the Light of Religion has arisen, there is no 
longer need to warn men against these things, or to 
struggle against them ; they have already vanished, and 
their place is no longer known. Are they still there ? 
then the Light of Religion has assuredly not arisen, and 
all warning and exhortation is in vain. 

Thus, the proposed criterion being applied in the first 
place negatively, the answer to the question, Whether 
these contemplations in which w r e have been engaged have 
belonged to vacant or to True Time 1 must depend upon 
this, Whether thoughtlessness, frivolity, and fickleness, 
have disappeared from our Life, and continue to disappear 
therefrom more and more ? 

Pure thoughtlessness, that is, mute and blind sur 
render of ourselves to the stream of phenomena, without 
even entertaining the thought of any unity or foundation 
therein, is mere Animalism, and thereby possesses a 
certain conformity to Nature which we must allow to 
have its value. It is seldom that man is so fortunate 
as to possess it. Those questionings after unity still 
present themselves and demand their reply. He who 


cannot enter upon the inquiry, has no alternative but to 
harden himself against this impulse, and assume, of his 
own will, as his true wisdom and the ruling maxim of 
his life, that absolute thoughtlessness which Nature has 
denied him as a natural condition. There is no lack 
of distinguished appellations under which this maxim 
may be entertained : Common Sense of Mankind, Scep 
ticism, Struggle against Fanaticism and Superstition, &c. 
According to these doctrines, the animal is the true 
Philosopher and Sage; folly belongs to man, and con 
sists in demanding a foundation and a reason of the 
visible. This folly the wise man subdues as well as he 
can, and thus by art brings himself back to the condition 
of the beast. But should these maxims, with all their 
distinguished appellations, prove unable to subdue this 
impulse which demands a secure foundation for our 
knowledge, then other means are, sought to put it to 
silence. We pretend to rally ourselves on making this 
effort, and to laugh at ourselves for indulging in this 
folly, while it is in truth the effort itself which we try 
to make ridiculous, in order that we may thereby 
take revenge upon ourselves for having suffered this 
impulse to surprise and lay hold of us, and also in 
order that others may not believe us capable of such 
weakness. We fly from no society more willingly than 
from our own ; and that we may never be left alone with 
ourselves we endeavour to fill up with mere amusement 
every portion of time unemployed by those occupations 
which already keep us from ourselves. This condition 
is unnatural. Children may by nature desire play be 
cause their powers are not yet ripe for earnest employ 
ment : but when grown men can do nothing but play, 
then this is not for the sake of play itself, but because 
there is something else which they would willingly forget. 
Does an earnest thought come in thy way, which thou 
Avouldst not entertain ? Let it alone and pursue the 


path thou hast begun ! This, however, thou doest not, 
but turnest thyself against it, and summonest up all the 
resources of thy wit to cover it with ridicule. Where 
fore give thyself this trouble? For this cause: thou 
canst not bear the presence of this thought in its ori 
ginal and earnest form ; thou hast no rest till thou hast 
clothed it in another and to thee more acceptable shape. 
Fickleness and frivolity are unerring signs, and the 
more so the greater their degree, that there is some 
thing gnawing within the heart from which we would 
willingly escape ; and just upon that account they are 
proofs which cannot be mistaken that the noble nature 
which they disguise is not wholly dead. He who can cast 
a searching glance into such souls must feel the deepest 
commiseration for their state, and for the atmosphere of 
lies in which they live. They would make all men believe 
that they are in the highest degree happy and contented, 
seeking from others the confirmation of that which they 
themselves know to be false, and with a most sorrowful 
laughter at their own efforts making themselves appear 
even worse than they really are. 

Have these follies wholly disappeared from our minds ? 
do we no longer shun earnest reflection, but now begin to 
love it above all things else ? then our contemplations 
have assuredly belonged not to vacant but to True Time. 

Has the Light of Religion arisen within us? then it not 
only dispels the previous darkness, but it has also had a 
true and real existence within us before it could dispel 
the darkness; now it spreads itself forth until it em 
braces our whole world, and thus becomes the source 
of New Life. In the beginning of these lectures we have 
traced everything great and noble in man to this, that 
he lose his own personal existence in the Life of the 
Race ; devote his own Life to the purposes of the Race ; 
labour, endure, suffer, and if need be die, as a sacrifice 
to the Race. In this view it was always deeds, always 


that which could manifest itself in outward and visible ap 
pearance, to which we looked. In this way it was necessary 
for us to open our communication with the Age. Now, 
ennobled by our progress from this point of view, as I 
foretold, we use this language no longer. The one thing 
truly noble in man, the highest form of the one Idea which 
has become clear within him, is Religion ; but Religion 
is nothing external, it never clothes itself in any outward 
manifestation ; but it completes the Inward Life of Man, 
it is Spiritual Light and Truth. The true course of action 
is now disclosed of itself, for Truth cannot act otherwise 
than according to Truth; but this true course of action is 
no longer a sacrifice, no longer demands suffering and 
endurance, but is itself the manifestation and effluence of 
the highest inward Blessedness. He who, although with 
reluctance and in conflict with internal darkness, yet acts 
according to Truth, let him be admired and let his heroism 
be extolled : he upon whom this Inward Light has arisen 
has outgrown our admiration and our praise ; there is no 
longer any doubt, opposition or contradiction in his Being, 
but all is the one, clear, ever-flowing Fountain of Truth. 

Formerly we expressed ourselves in the following lan 
guage: As when the breath of Spring enlivens the air, 
the strong and fixed ice, which but a moment before 
imprisoned each atom within itself, and shut up each 
neighbouring atom in similar isolation, now no longer 
maintains its rigid bondage, but flows forth in one free, 
animated, and glowing flood; so does the Spirit- World ever 
flow at the breath of Love, and is and abides in eternal 
communion with the mighty Whole. Let us now add : 
This atmosphere of the Spirit- World, its creating and 
combining element, is LIGHT this originally : Heat, if it 
do not again evaporate, but bear within itself an element of 
endurance, is but the first manifestation of this Light. In 
the darkness of mere earthly vision, all things stand divided 
from each other; each individual thing isolated by means of 


the cold and unillumined matter in which it is embraced. 
But in this darkness there is no unity. The Light of 
Religion arises ! and all things burst forth and rush to 
wards each other in reciprocal order and dependence, and 
float on together, as a united whole, in the One, Eternal, 
and All-embracing flood of Light. 

This Light is mild, gently refreshing, and wholesome to 
the eye. In the twilight of mere earthly vision the dim 
shapes which crowd in confusion around us are feared and 
therefore hated. In the Light of Religion all things are 
pleasing and shed around them calmness and peace. In it 
all unlovely shapes disappear, all things float in the glow 
ing ether of Love. Not that man submits himself to 
the law of a high and unchangeable Fate ; in Religion 
there is no Fate, but only Wisdom and Goodness, to which 
man is not compelled to submit himself, but which em 
brace him with Infinite Love. In these contemplations 
in which we have been engaged, this joyful and friendly 
view ought to have spread itself over our own Age, and 
over the whole Earthly Life of our Race. The more 
closely this mild influence has embraced us, the deeper it 
has penetrated all our thoughts and aspirations, in a 
word, the more we have attained to peace with the whole 
world, and joyful sympathy with every form of existence, 
the more sure may we be, and the more confidently may 
we affirm, that our contemplations have belonged not to 
vacant, but to True Time. 

This Light spreads itself forth by its own native 
energy, and widens the sphere of its influence, until at 
last it embraces our whole world. As when the earthly 
light breaks forth in one point, the shadows retire, the 
limits of day and night are separated, and darkness 
itself becomes visible though not the particular objects 
which it veils ; so is it with the Light of Religion. In 
one sphere, in the sphere of our Earthly Life, this 
Light ought already to have arisen upon us. Has 


it truly arisen upon us ? then do we already know, 
firmly and surely, that also beyond this sphere Wisdom 
and Goodness reign, because nothing else can possibly 
attain dominion ; but we do not understand how they 
rule there, nor what are the purposes which they there 
unfold. Penetrated with firm and immovable conviction 
and insight with respect to the fact, there remains to us 
beyond this sphere, and with reference to the manner of 
the fact, only Faith. The one sphere is illumined by clear 
and intelligible Light ; the farther region is also sur 
rounded by Light, but obscurity still rests upon the super- 
sensual objects which it contains. But this Light, thus 
intelligible and clear in itself, does not remain shut up in 
its original limits, but, as its own brightness increases, 
it lays hold of the nearest surrounding phenomena, and 
from these again proceeds to those beyond ; the sphere 
of the Religion of the Understanding is extended, and 
embraces one portion after another of the realm of Faith. 
If, therefore, we shall gradually attain to a clearer and 
clearer understanding of that one thing which alone is 
worth understanding, the plans of Divine Wisdom and 
Goodness then is this a certain proof that our contem 
plations have belonged not to vacant, but to True Time. 

In one word, only our future growth in inward Peace 
and Blessedness, as well as in inward Understanding, can 
furnish the proof that the doctrine which has been here 
set forth is True, has been truly accepted by us, and has 
attained an actual Life within us. 

You see that this proof does not show itself outwardly ; 
that no one of us can answer for the other, but each only 
for himself and from his own soul ; and indeed that each 
can do this best when he answers only within his own soul. 
You see that in no case can these questions be answered 
to-day or to-morrow, but that the answer must be deferred 
for a quite indefinite period of time. You see that here 
to-day, standing at the conclusion of our labours, we yet 


cannot know whether we Lave accomplished something 
or nothing ; and that upon this subject we can only 
appeal to the consciousness of our honest intention, if 
we are able to lay claim to such an intention, and must 
pass over from the^region of Understanding to that of 
Faith and Hope. 

And suppose that we could answer these questions, and 
answer them in accordance with our own wishes ; what, 
even in that case, were this assembly in comparison with 
the populous city in which we stand ? and what were this 
city in comparison with the whole realm of culture ? a 
drop of water, perhaps, in a mighty stream. Would not 
this drop of water, animated by a new Life-element, if 
indeed it were really so animated, would it not mingle 
with the stream, and disappear in it, so that scarcely a 
single trace of the superadded element should remain ? 
Here again we have nothing left us but the Hope that if 
it be Truth which we have here announced, and if it have 
assumed a form intelligible to our Age, this same Truth, 
in the same form, though without our knowledge, shall 
also, elsewhere and through other organs, make itself mani 
fest to the Age ; so that many drops in this great stream 
may be interpenetrated by the same Life-element, and 
gradually combining, at last communicate their mutual 
vitality to the whole. 

Let us cherish this Hope, and with this joyful anticipa 
tion before us, let us part. Farewell ! 








o a 

( 291 ) 



Life is Love ; and hence Life and Blessedness are in themselves one and 
the same. Distinction of the True Life from mere Apparent Life. 
Life and Being are also one and the same. The True Being is for 
ever at one with itself and unchangeable ; the Apparent, on the con 
trary, is changeable and transitory. The True Life loves this One 
Being, or God ; the Apparent loves the Transitory, or the World. 
This Apparent Life itself exists, and is maintained in Existence, 
only by aspiration towards the Eternal ; this aspiration can never be 
satisfied in the mere Apparent Life, and hence this Life is Unblessed ; 
the Love of the True Life, on the contrary, is continually satisfied, 
and hence this Life is Blessed. The element of True Life is Thought, 


The present subject is at bottom Metaphysic, and more especially Onto 
logy ; and this is to be here set forth in a popular way. Refutation 
of the objections of the impossibility and unadvisableness of such an 
exposition, by the necessity there is for attempting it, by investi 
gation of the peculiar nature of the popular discourse in opposition to 
the scientific, and by the practical proof that since the introduction 
of Christianity this undertaking has at all times been actually accom 
plished. Great hindrances which exist in our own day to the commu 
nication of such Knowledge, partly because its strictly determinate 
form is opposed both to the propensity towards arbitrary opinion and 
to the mere want of opinion which calls itself scepticism ; partly 
because its substance seems strange and monstrously paradoxical ; 
and finally, because unprejudiced persons are led astray by the objec 
tions urged by perverse fanaticism. Genetic exposition of this species 
of fanaticism. The accusation of Mysticism which may be expected 
from these fanatics against our doctrine noticed. The true object of 
this and similar accusations. 



Solution of the problem how since Life must be an organic whole a part 
of this necessary Life may yet be wanting in Actual Life, as is the case, 
according to what we have held above, in the Apparent Life, by the 
remark that the Spiritual Life develops itself in Reality only gradually 
and, as it were, by stages ; illustrated by the striking example that 
the great masses of mankind refer the thought of outward objects to 
sensible perception of such objects, and know no better than that all 
our Knowledge is founded on experience. What, in opposition to thia 
thought of outward objects, which after all is not founded on percep 
tion, is true and proper Thought ; and how this is distinguished in 
its Form from mere Opinion, with which, in reference to its sphere 
of activity, it coincides. 

Actual application of this Thought to the highest elements of Knowledge, 
from which we have these results: Being, in itself, (Seyri) neither 
has arisen, nor has anything in it arisen, but it is absolutely One and 
Simple in its Essence ; from it we have to distinguish its Ex-istence 
(Daseyn) which is necessarily Consciousness of Being. This Con 
sciousness, being also necessarily Self-consciousness, cannot, either in 
its essence or in the special determinations of its actual existence, be 
genetically deduced from Being (Seyri) itself; although it may be 
understood generally that this its actual determinate Ex-istence is 
essentially one with the essential Nature of Being. 


Exposition of what is essential to the Blessed Life, and what is only condi 
tionally necessary. The answer to the question : " How, since Being 
(Seyn] ex-ists as it is in itself, namely as One, yet in this its Ex-istence 
(Daseyn) or Consciousness, Multiplicity may nevertheless find place ?" 
only conditionally necessary. Answer to the question, The "as, 
or characterization by means of opposition, which arises from the dis 
tinction that takes place only in Ex-istence, is an absolute opposition 
and the principle of all other division. This "as," or act of charac 
terization, presupposes an abiding Being that is characterized, whereby 
that which in itself is the inward Divine Life is changed into a deter 
minate World. This World is characterized or formed by means of 
this "as/ 1 Reflexion which is absolutely free and independent, 
without any end or limit to the process. 


Principle of a new division in Knowledge, not proceeding immediately on 
the Object, but only on the Reflexion of the Object, and hence giving 
only different views of the One abiding World ; which latter division 


is nevertheless intimately connected with the first, and interpenetrated 
by it. This division, and hence the diverse views of the World which 
result from it, are five-fold. The first and lowest, being that of the 
prevalent Philosophy, in which reality is attributed to the World of 
Sense, or Nature. The second, in which reality is placed in a Law of 
Order in the Existing World addressed to Freedom ; the stand-point 
of Objective Legality, or of the Categorical Imperative. The third, 
which places reality in a new Creative Law addressed to Freedom, pro 
ducing a New World within the Existing World ; the stand-point of 
the Higher Morality. The fourth, which places reality in God alone 
and in His Kx-istence ; the stand-point of Religion. The fifth, which 
clearly discerns the Manifold in its outgoings from the One Reality, 
the stand-point of Science. The True Religious Life, however, is 
not possible as a mere view, but exists only in union with an Actual 
Divine Life, and without this union the mere view is empty Fanaticism, 


Proof of our previous assertion, that this Doctrine is likewise the Doctrine 
of pure Christianity, as contained in the writings of the Apostle John. 
Reasons why we especially appeal to this Evangelist. Our hermeneu- 
tical principle. In John we have to distinguish that which is true, ab 
solutely and in itself, from that which is true only from his temporary 
point of view. The first is contained in the Introduction to his Gospel, 
up to verse 5. Estimate of this Introduction, not as the unauthorita- 
tive opinion of the Evangelist, but as the immediate doctrine of Jesus. 
Exposition of it. The view that possesses a mere temporary validity is 
the, not metaphysical but merely historical, proposition that the Divine 
Existence, in its original purity and without any individual limitation, 
has manifested itself in Jesus of Nazareth. Explanation of the dif 
ference of these two views, and of their union, likewise and expressly 
according to the Christian Doctrine. Estimate of this historical dogma. 
Comprehension of the substance of the whole Gospel from this point 
of view, in an answer to the questions: What does Jesus teach 
respecting himself and his relation to God ] and what respecting 
his followers and their relation to him ? 


Farther explanation of the distinction drawn in the preceding lecture be 
tween the Historical and Metaphysical, in relation to the fundamental 
dogma of Christianity. 


More thorough delineation of the mere Apparent Life from its fundamen 
tal principle. A complete exposition of all the possible modes of 
man s Enjoyment of himself and of the World is requisite for the do- 


monstration of the Blessedness of the Religious Life. Of these there 
are five, the five modes of viewing the World, already enumerated, 
being also so many modes of its Enjoyment ; of which, in consequence 
of the exclusion of the Scientific stand-point, four only come under 
consideration here. Enjoyment in any form, as the satisfaction of 
Love, is founded on Love; Love, however, is the Affection of Being. 
Sensuous Enjoyment, and the Affections which are produced by means 
of fancy, in the first stand-point. The Affection of Reality in the 
second stand-point, viz. Law, is a commandment, from which proceeds 
a judgment, which in itself would be disinterested, but which, being 
associated with the interest of man in his own personality, is changed 
into the mere negation of self-contempt. This mode of thought an 
nuls all Love in man, but even on that account it exalts him above 
all want. Stoicism, as mere Apathy, in relation to Happiness and 


More profound exposition of our Doctrine of Being. Everything that 
arises from mere Ex-istence, as such, comprehended under the name 
of Form. In Reality, Being is absolutely inseparable from Form, and 
the Existence of the latter is itself founded in the inward necessity of 
the Divine Nature. Application of this principle to the first portion 
of Form, Infinity, Application of it to the second portion of Form, 
the five-fold division previously set forth. This gives a free and in 
dependent Ego as the organic central-point of all Form. Exposition 
of the nature of Freedom. Affection of the Ego for its personal inde 
pendence, which necessarily disappears as soon as the individual 
stand-points of mere possible Freedom are destroyed by perfect Free 
dom ; and thus again the presence, or absence of this Love of Self 
gives us two completely opposite modes of viewing and enjoying the 
World. From the former arises, in the first place, the impulse towards 
Sensuous Enjoyment, as the Love of a Self, determined in a particular 
way by means of outward objects ; and, in the second place, from the 
stand-point of Legality, the Love of mere formal Freedom after the 
renunciation of the Love of objective self-determination. Charac 
terization of the Love from which a Categorical Imperative arises. 
Through the annihilation of that Love of Self the Will of the Ego is 
brought into harmony with the Will of God ; and there arises there 
from, in the first place, the stand-point, previously described as the 
third, of the Higher Morality. Relation of this mode of thought to 
outward circumstances, particularly in contrast with the superstition 
of sensuous desire. 


The New World which the Higher Morality creates within the World of 
Sense is the immediate Life of God himself in Time ; it can only be 


felt in immediate consciousness, and can only be characterized in 
general by the distinctive mark that each of its Forms is a source of 
pleasure solely on its own account, and not as a means towards any 
other end. Illustrations by the examples of Beauty, of Science, &c., 
and by the phenomena presented by a natural Genius for these. This 
Life nevertheless strives after an outward result ; and so long as the 
desire for this result is still mixed up with the joy arising from the 
deed itself, even the Higher Morality is not exempt from the possi 
bility of pain. Separation of these by the stand-point of Religion. 
Foundation of Individuality. Each Individual has his own special 
portion in the Divine Life. The first fundamental Law of Morality 
and of the Blessed Life : that each should devote himself wholly to 
this portion. General external characterization of the Moral-Religious 
Will, in so far as this comes forth from its inward Life into outward 


Comprehensive view of the whole subject from its deepest stand-point. 
Being, which is projected forth from itself in the form of the inde 
pendent Ego as the necessary Form of Reflexion, is, beyond all Re 
flexion, united with Form by Love alone. This Love is" the creator of 
the abstract conception of God ; is the source of all certainty ; is 
that which, in Life, embraces the Absolute, immediately and without 
modification by Conception; is that by which Reflexion, which in 
its Form contains only the possibility of Infinity, is extended into an 
Actual Infinity ; finally, is the source of Science. I n living and actual 
Reflexion this Love manifests itself immediately in the phenomenon 
of Moral Action. Characterization of the Philanthropy of the Moral- 
Religious Man. Delineation of his Blessedness. 


General application of the subject. Hindrances to a thorough communi 
cation between the speaker and hearer : the want of thorough devo 
tion of mind ; so-called Scepticism ; the surrounding influences of 
the Age. Deeper characterization of these influences by the principle 
of the mutual acceptation of all men as miserable sinners (Modern 
Humanity.) How the good and upright man] may rise superior to 
these influences. 

( 297 ) 



THE Lectures which I now commence have been an 
nounced under the title of " The Way towards the Blessed 
Life." Following the common and customary view, which 
no one can rectify unless he first accommodate himself to 
it, I could not avoid thus expressing myself; although, 
according to the true view of the matter, the expression 
" Blessed Life," has in it something superfluous. To wit : 
Life is necessarily blessed, for it is Blessedness ; the thought 
of an wnblessed life, on the other hand, carries with it 
a contradiction. Death alone is unblessed. Thus, had 
I expressed myself with strict precision, I should have 
named my proposed lectures " The Way towards Life, or 
the Doctrine of Life " or, viewing the idea on the other 
side, " The Way towards Blessedness, or the Doctrine of 
Blessedness." That, nevertheless, not nearly all that 
seems to live is blessed, arises from this that what is 
unblessed does not really and truly live, but, for the most 
part, is sunk in Death and Nothingness. 

Life is itself Blessedness, I said. It cannot be other 
wise ; for Life is Love, and the whole form and power of 
Life consist in Love and spring from Love. In this I 
have given utterance to one of the most profound axioms 
of knowledge; which nevertheless, in my opinion, may at 

p a 


once be made clear and evident to every one, by means of 
really earnest and sustained attention. Love divides that 
which in itself is dead as it were into a two-fold being, 
holding it up before its own contemplation ; creating 
thereby an Ego or Self, which beholds and is cognizant 
of itself, and in this personality lies the root of all Life. 
Love again reunites and intimately binds together this 
divided personality, which without Love would regard 
itself coldly and without interest. This latter unity, with 
a duality which is not thereby destroyed but eternally re 
mains subsistent, is Life itself; as every one who strictly 
considers these ideas and combines them together must at 
once distinctly perceive. Further, Love is satisfaction 
with itself, joy in itself, enjoyment of itself, and there 
fore Blessedness; and thus it is clear that Life, Love, and 
Blessedness, are absolutely one and the same. 

I said further, that not everything which seems to be 
living does really and truly live. It follows that, in my 
opinion, Life may be regarded from a double point of view, 
and is so regarded by me ; that is, partly as regards Truth, 
and partly as regards Appearance. Now it is clear, be 
fore all things, that this latter merely Apparent Life could 
never even become apparent, but must remain wholly and 
entirely non-existent, were it not, in some way or other, 
supported and maintained by the True Life and, since 
nothing has a real existence but Life, did not the True Life, 
in some way or other, enter into the Apparent Life and be 
commingled with it. There can be no real Death, and no 
real Unblessedness ; for, were we to admit this, we should 
thereby attribute to them an existence ; while it is only the 
True Being and Life that can have existence. Hence all 
incomplete existence is but an admixture of the dead with 
the living. In what way this admixture generally takes 
place, and what, even in the lowest grades of life, is the 
indestructible representative of the True Life, we shall be 
times declare. It is further to be remarked, that Love 


is the actual seat and central-point even of this merely 
Apparent Life. Understand me thus : the Apparent can 
shape itself into manifold, infinitely varied, forms ; as we 
shall soon perceive more clearly. These various forms of 
the Apparent Life have all a common life, if we use the 
language of Appearance ; or, they all appear to have a 
common life, if we use the language of Truth. But if 
again the question should arise : By what is this com 
mon life distinguished in its various forms ; and what is 
it that gives to each individual the peculiar character of 
his particular life? I answer: It is the love of this 
particular and individual life. Show me what thou truly 
lovest, what thou seekest and strivest for with thy whole 
heart when thou wouldst attain to true enjoyment of thy 
self, and thou hast thereby shown me thy Life. What 
thou lovest, in that thou livest. This very Love is thy 
Life, the root, the seat, the central-point of thy being. 
All other emotions within thee have life only in so far as 
they tend towards this one central-point. That to many 
men it may be no easy matter to answer such a question, 
since they do not even know what they love, proves only 
that they do not in reality love anything ; and, just on 
that account, do not live because they do not love. 

So much, in general, as to the identity of Life, Love, and 
Blessedness. Now for the strict discrimination of the True 
Life from the mere Apparent Life. 

Being, I say again, Being and Life are one and the 
same. Life alone can possess independent existence, of it 
self and through itself; and, on the other hand, Life, so 
surely as it is Life, bears with it such an existence. It is 
usual for men to conceive of Absolute Being as something 
fixed, rigid and dead ; philosophers themselves, almost 
without exception, have so conceived of it, even while they 
declared it to be Absolute. This arises onlyfrom the thinker 
himself bringing to the contemplation of Being not a living 
but a mere dead conception. Not in Being, as it is in and 


for itself, is there Death; but only in the deadly gaze of the 
dead beholder. That in this error is to be found the origi 
nal source of all other errors, and that through it the world 
of truth and the whole spiritual universe is for ever shut 
, we have proved in another place, at least to those 
who were capable of accepting the proof; here, the mere 
historical statement of the principle must be sufficient. 

On the other hand, as Being and Life are one and the 
same, so are Death and Nothingness one and the same. But 
there is no real Death and no real Nothingness, as we have 
already said. There is, however, an Apparent Life, and 
this is the mixture of life and death, of being and nothing 
ness. Hence it follows, that the Apparent, so far as regards 
that in it which makes it mere Appearance, and which is 
opposed to the True Being and Life, is mere Death and 

Further : Being is throughout simple, not manifold ; 
there are not many beings, but only One Being. This prin 
ciple, like the former, contains an idea which is generally 
misunderstood, or even wholly unknown, but of the evident 
truth of which any one may convince himself, if he will 
only give his earnest attention to the subject for a single 
moment. We have here neither time nor intention to un 
dertake, with our present audience, those preparatory and 
initiative steps which the mass of men need in order to 
render them capable of such earnest reflection. 

We shall here bring forward and employ only the results 
of those premises ; and these results will recommend them 
selves to your natural sense of truth without need of argu 
ment. With regard to the profounder premises, we must 
content ourselves with stating them clearly and distinctly, 
and so securing them against all misconception. Thus, with 
reference to the principle we have last adduced, our mean 
ing is the following: Being alone is ; nothing else is ; not, 
in particular, a something which is not Being, but which lies 
outside of all Being; an assumption, this latter, which, to 


every one who understands our words, must appear a mani 
fest absurdity, but which nevertheless lies, dim and unre 
cognised, at the bottom of the common notion of Being. 
According to this common notion, something which in and 
through itself neither is nor can be, receives from without 
a superadded existence, which thus is an existence of no 
thing ; and from the union of these two absurdities, all 
truth and reality arise. This common notion is contradicted 
by the principle we have laid down : Being alone is, i.e. 
that only which is by and through itself is. We say fur 
ther : This Being is simple, homogeneous, and immutable ; x 
there is in it neither beginning nor ending, no variation 
or change of form, but it is always and for ever the same 
unalterable, and persistent Being. 

The truth of this proposition may be briefly shown thus : 
Whatever is, in and through itself, that indeed is, and is 
perfect : once for all existing, without the possibility of 
either abatement or increase. 

And thus we have opened the way towards an insight in 
to the characteristic distinction between the True Life, 
which is one with Being ; and the mere Apparent Life, 
which, in so far as it is mere appearance, is one with No 
thingness. Being is simple, unchangeable, ever the same ; 
therefore the True Life is also simple, unchangeable, ever the 
same. Appearance is a ceaseless change, a continual float 
ing between birth and decay ; therefore the mere Apparent 
Life is also a ceaseless change, ever floating between 
birth and decay, hurried along through never-ending alter 
nations. The central-point of all Life is Love. The True 
Life loves the One, Unchangeable, and Eternal; the mere 
Apparent Life attempts to love the Transitory and Perish 
able, were that capable of being loved, or could such 
love uphold itself in being. 

That object of the Love of the True Life is what \ 
we mean by the name God, or at least ought to mean 
by that name ; the object of the Love of the mere 


ApparentLife the transitory and perishable is that which 
we recognise as the World, and which we so name. 
The True Life thus lives in God, and loves God; the 
mere Apparent Life lives in the World, and attempts 
to love the World. It matters not on what particular 
side it approaches the world and comprehends it ; that 
which the common view terms moral depravity, sin, 
crime, and the like, may indeed be more hurtful and 
destructive to human society than many other things 
which this common view permits or even considers to be 
praiseworthy ; but, before the eye of Truth, all Life which 
fixes its love on the Temporary and Accidental, and seeks 
its enjoyment in any object other than the Eternal and 
Unchangeable, for that very reason, and merely on account 
of thus seeking its enjoyment in something else, is in 
like manner vain, miserable, and unblessed. 

The True Life lives in the Unchangeable ; it is thus cap 
able neither of abatement nor of increase, just as little as 
the Unchangeable itself, in which it lives, is capable of such 
abatement or increase. In each moment of Time it is per 
fect, the highest possible Life ; and throughout Eternity 
it necessarily remains what it is in each moment of Time. 
The Apparent Life lives only in the Transitory and Perish 
able, and therefore never remains the same in any two suc 
cessive moments ; each succeeding moment consumes and 
obliterates the preceding; and thus the Apparent Life 
becomes a continuous Death, and lives only in dying and 
in Death. 

We have said that the True Life is in itself blessed ; the 
Apparent Life necessarily miserable and unblessed. The 
possibility of all pleasure, joy, blessedness, or by whatever 
word we may express the general consciousness of Well- 
being, is founded upon love, effort, impulse. To be united 
with the beloved object,- and molten into its very essence,/ 
is Blessedness ; to be divided from it, cast out from it, 
while yet we cannot cease to turn towards it with longing 
aspiration, is Unblessedness. 


The following is the essential relation of the Apparent, 
or of the Actual and Finite, to Absolute Being, or to 
the Infinite and Eternal. That which we have already 
indicated as the element which must support arid main 
tain the Apparent, and without which it could not 
attain even the semblance of Existence, and which we 
promised soon to characterize more distinctl} r , is the 
aspiration towards the Eternal. This impulse to be united 
with the Imperishable and transfused therein, is the 
primitive root of all Finite Existence ; and in no branch 
of this existence can that impulse be wholly destroyed, 
unless that branch were to sink into utter nothingness. 
Beyond this aspiration upon which all Finite Existence 
rests, and by means of it, this existence either attains 
the True Life, or does not attain it. Where it does 
attain it, this secret aspiration becomes distinct and intel 
ligible as Love of the Eternal : we learn what it is that 
we desire, love, and need. This want may be satisfied 
constantly and under every condition ; the Eternal sur 
rounds us at all times, offers itself incessantly to our 
regards ; we have nothing more to do than to lay hold 
of it. But, once attained, it can never again be lost. 
He who lives the True Life has attained it, and now 
possesses it evermore, whole, undivided, in all its full 
ness, in every moment of his existence ; and is therefore 
blessed in this union with the object of his Love, pen 
etrated with a firm, immovable conviction that he shall 
thus enjoy it throughout Eternity, and thereby secured 
against all doubt, anxiety, or fear. Where the True 
Life is not attained, that aspiration is not felt the less, but 
it is not understood. Happy, contented, satisfied with their 
condition, all men would willingly be ; but wherein they 
shall find this happiness they know not ; what it is that 
they really love and strive after they do not understand. 
In -that which comes into immediate contact with their 
senses, and offers itself to their enjoyment, in the World, 


they think it must be found ; because to that spiritual 
condition in which they now find themselves there is 
really nothing else existing but the World. Ardently 
they betake themselves to this chase after happiness, 
eagerly appropriating, and devoting themselves to, the 
first best object that pleases them and promises to satisfy 
their desires. But as soon as such an one returns into him 
self, and asks, " Am I now happy ? " he is loudly answered 
from the depths of his own soul, " no, thou art as empty 
and necessitous as before." They now imagine that 
they have been mistaken in their choice of an object, 
and throw themselves eagerly into another. This satis 
fies them as little as the first: there is no object 
under the sun or moon that will satisfy them. Would 
we that any such object should satisfy them ? By no 
means : that nothing finite and perishable can satisfy 
them ; this is precisely the one tie that still connects 
them with the Eternal and preserves them in exist 
ence : did they find any one earthly object that should 
fill them with perfect satisfaction, then were they thereby 
irretrievably thrust forth from the Godhead, and cast 
out into the eternal death of Nothingness. And thus 
do they fret and vex away their life ; in every con 
dition thinking that if it were but otherwise with them 
it would be better with them, and then, when it has 
become otherwise, discovering that it is not better; 
in every position believing that if they could but attain 
yonder height which they descry above them, they would 
be freed from their anguish, but finding nevertheless, 
even on the attained height, their ancient sorrow. In 
riper years, perchance, when the fresh enthusiasm and 
glad hopefulness of youth have vanished, they take 
counsel with themselves, review their whole previous 
life, and venture to draw therefrom some definite con 
clusion ; it may be, to acknowledge that no earthly 
good whatever can give them satisfaction : And what 


do they now? They determine perhaps to renounce all 
faith in happiness and peace; blunting or deadening, as 
far as possible, their still inextinguishable aspirations ; 
and then they call this insensibility the only true wis 
dom, this despair of all salvation the only true salvation 
and their pretended knowledge that man is not destined to 
happiness, but only to this vain striving with nothing and 
for nothing, the true understanding. Perchance they re 
nounce only their hope of satisfaction in this earthly life; 
but please themselves with a certain promise, handed down 
to them by tradition, of a Blessedness beyond the grave. 
Into what a mournful delusion do they now fall ! Full 
surely, indeed, there lies a Blessedness beyond the grave for 
those who have already entered upon it here, and in no 
other form or way than that by which they can already 
enter upon it here, in this present moment ; but by mere 
burial man cannot arrive at Blessedness, and in the future 
life, and throughout the whole infinite range of all future 
life, they would seek for happiness as vainly as they have 
already sought it here, if they were to seek it in aught else 
than in that which already surrounds them so closely here 
below that throughout Eternity it can never be brought 
nearer to them, in the Infinite. And thus does the poor 
child of Eternity, cast forth from his native home, yet sur 
rounded on all sides by his heavenly inheritance which his 
trembling hand fears to grasp, wander with fugitive and 
uncertain step throughout the waste, everywhere labouring 
to establish for himself a dwelling-place, but happily ever 
reminded, by the speedy downfall of each of his successive 
habitations, that he can find peace nowhere but in his 
Father s house. 

Thus, my hearers, is the True Life necessarily Blessedness 
itself; and the Apparent Life necessarily Unblessedness. 

And now consider with me the following : I say, the 
element, the atmosphere, the substantial form if this latter 
expression may be better understood the element, the 

q a 


atmosphere, the substantial form of the True Life, is 

In the first place, no one surely will be disposed, seri 
ously, and in the proper meaning of the words, to ascribe 
Life and Blessedness to anything which is not conscious 
of itself. All Life thus presupposes self-consciousness, and 
it is self-consciousness alone which is able to lay hold of 
Life and make it an object of enjoyment. 

Thus then : The True Life and its Blessedness consists 
in a union with the Unchangeable and Eternal : but the 
Eternal can be apprehended only by Thought, and is in no 
other way approachable by us. The One and Unchangeable 
is apprehended as the foundation of ourselves and of the 
world, and this in a double respect : partly as the cause 
whereby all things have come into existence, and have not 
remained in mere nothingness; partly that in Him, and in 
His essential nature which in this way only is con 
ceivable to us, but in all other ways remains wholly 
inconceivable is contained the cause why all things 
exist as they are and in no other way. And thus the 
True Life and its Blessedness consists in Thought ; that 
is, in a certain definite view of ourselves and the world, 
as proceeding from the essential, self-contained Divine 
Nature : and therefore a Doctrine of Blessedness can be 
nothing else than a Doctrine of Knowledge, since there is 
absolutely no other doctrine but a Doctrine of Knowledge. 
In the mind, in the self-supporting life of Thought, 
Life itself subsists, for beyond the mind there is no true 
Existence. To live truly, means to think truly, and to 
discern the truth. 

Thus it is : let no one be deceived by the invectives 
which, in these later godless and soulless times, are poured 
forth on what is termed speculation. It is a striking charac 
teristic of these invectives that they proceed from those 
only who know nothing of speculation ; no one who does 
know it has inveighed against it. It is only to the highest 


flight of thought that the Godhead is revealed, and it is to 

be apprehended by no other sense whatever; to seek to 

make men suspicious of this mental effort, is to wish to cat 
them off for ever from God and from the enjoyment of 

Wherein should Life and the Blessedness of Life have 
their element if they had it not in Thought ? Perhaps in 
certain sensations and feelings, with reference to which it 
matters not to us whether they minister to the grossest. sen 
sual enjoyments or the most refined spiritual raptures ? 
How could a mere feeling, which by its very nature is de 
pendent on circumstance, secure for itself an eternal and 
unchangeable duration ? and how could we, amid the ob 
scurity which, for the same reason, necessarily accompanies 
mere feeling, inwardly perceive and enjoy such an un 
changeable continuance ? No : it is only the light of pure 
Knowledge, thoroughly transparent to itself, and in free 
possession of all that it contains, which, by means of this 
clearness, can ensure its unalterable endurance. 

Or, shall the Blessed Life consist in virtuous conduct and 
behaviour ? What the profane call virtue, i.e. that a man 
pursue his calling or occupation in a legitimate way, give 
other men their due, and perhaps bestow something on the 
poor: this virtue will, hereafter as hitherto, be exacted by 
law, and prompted by natural sympathy. But no one can 
rise to True Virtue, to god-like, creative action, whence 
arises everything True and Good in this world, who does 
not lovingly embrace the Godhead in clear comprehen 
sion ; while he who does so embrace it will thus act 
without either formal intention or positive reward, and 
cannot act otherwise. 

We do not here, by any means, promulgate a new doctrine 
regarding the spiritual world, but this is the old doctrine 
which has been taught in all ages. Thus, for example, 
Christianity makes Faith the one indispensable condition of 
True Life and Blessedness, and rejects, as worthless and 


dead, everything without exception that does not spring 
from this Faith. But this Faith is the same thing which 
we have here named Thought: the only true view of our 
selves, and of the world, in the One Unchangeable Divine 
Being. It is only after this Faith, i.e. this clear and 
living Thought, has disappeared from the world that 
men have placed the conditions of the Blessed Life in 
what is called virtue, and thus sought a noble fruit on a 
wild and uncultivated stem. 

To this Life, the general characteristics of which have 
been set forth in this preliminary sketch, I have here pro 
mised to point you the way; I have pledged myself to show 
you the means by which this Blessed Life may be attained 
and enjoyed. This instruction may be comprised in a single 
remark, this namely: It is not required of man that he 
should create the Eternal, which he could never do; the 
Eternal is in him, and surrounds him at all times; he has 
but to forsake the Transitory and Perishable with which the 
True Life can never unite, and thereupon the Eternal, with 
all its Blessedness, will forthwith descend and dwell with 
him. We cannot win Blessedness, but we may cast away 
our wretchedness; and thereupon Blessedness will forthwith 
of itself supply the vacant place. Blessedness, as we have 
seen, is unwavering repose in the One Eternal; wretched 
ness is vagrancy amid the Manifold and Transitory ; and 
therefore the condition of becoming blessed is the return 
of our love from the Many to the One. 

That which is vagrant amid the Manifold and Transitory 
is dissolved, poured forth, and spread abroad like water ; 
because of its desire to love this and that and many 
things besides, it really loves nothing ; and just because it 
would be everywhere at home, it is nowhere at home. This 
/ vagrancy is our peculiar nature, and in it we are born. For 
this reason the return of the mind to the One Eternal, 
which never arises by the common view of things but 
must be brought about by our own effort, appears as concert- 


tration of the mind, and its indwelling in itself; as earnest 
ness, in opposition to the merry game we play amid the 
manifold diversities of life; and as profound tJiouglitfulness, 
in opposition to the light-hearted thoughtlessness which, 
while it has much to comprehend, yet comprehends noth 
ing thoroughly. This profound and thoughtful earnestness, 
this strict concentration of the mind, and its indwelling in 
itself, is the one condition under which the Blessed Life 
can approach us ; but under this condition it approaches 
and dwells with us surely and infallibly. 

It is certainly true, that, by this withdrawal of our mind 
from the Visible, the objects of our former love fade from 
our view, and gradually disappear, until we regain them 
clothed with fresh beauty in the a3ther of the new world 
which rises before us ; and that our whole previous life 
perishes, until we regain it as a slight adjunct to the new 
life which begins within us. But this is the destiny in 
separable from all Finite Existence ; only through death 
does it enter into life. Whatever is mortal must die, no 
thing can deliver it from the power of its own nature ; in 
the Apparent Life it dies continually; where the True Life 
begins, in that one death it dies for ever, and for all the 
unknown series of future deaths which in the Apparent 
Life may yet lie before it. 

I have promised to show you the way towards the Blessed 
Life ! But with what applications, and under what images, 
forms, and conceptions, shall such instruction be addressed 
to this age, in these circumstances ? The images and forms 
of the established religion, which say the same things which 
alone we can say here, and which say them besides in the 
same way in which alone we can say them here, because it 
is the most fitting way, these images and forms have been 
first of all emptied of their significance, then openly derided, 
and lastly given over to silent and polite contempt. The 
propositions and syllogisms of the philosophers are accused 
of being pernicious to the country and the nation, and sub- 


versive of sound sense, and that before a tribunal where 
neither accuser nor judge appears; and this might be en 
dured : but what is worse, every one who will believe it 
is told beforehand that he can never understand these 
propositions and syllogisms ; with this object, that he 
may not accept the words in their natural sense and as 
they stand, but seek behind them for some peculiar and 
hidden meaning; and in this way misconception and 
confusion are sure to arise. 

Or, even were it possible to discover forms and applica 
tions by means of which we might communicate such in 
struction, how should we awaken a desire to receive it, 
here, where it is universally taught, and now with greater 
applause than ever, that despair of all salvation is the only 
possible salvation ; that the faith that mankind are but 
the sport of an arbitrary and capricious God is the 
only true wisdom ; and where he who still believes in 
God and Truth, and in Life and Blessedness therein, is 
laughed at as an inexperienced boy who knows nothing of 
the world ? 

Be this as it may, we have yet courage in store ; and to 
have striven for a praiseworthy end, even if it be in vain, is 
yet worth our labour. I see before me now, and I hope 
still to see here, persons who have partaken in the best cul 
ture which our age affords. First of all, women, to whom, 
by the social arrangements of mankind, has been assigned 
the task of caring for the minor external wants, and 
also for the decorations of human life, an employment 
which, more than any other, distracts the mind and 
draws it away from clear and earnest reflection, while, 
by way of compensation, wise nature has implanted in 
them warmer aspirations towards the Eternal, and a 
more refined perception of it. Then I see before me 
men of business, whose calling drags them, every day 
of their lives, through many and varied details, which 
are, indeed, connected with the Eternal and Unchano-e- 


able, but so that not every one can discover, at the 
first glance, the link that unites them. Lastly, I see before 
me young scholars, in whom the form in which the Eternal 
is destined to pervade their being still labours in the pre 
paration of its future abode. While, with reference to this 
latter class, I may perhaps venture to flatter myself with the 
hope that some of my suggestions may contribute towards 
that preparation, with reference to the two former classes, I 
make far more modest pretensions. I ask them only to 
accept from me what they might doubtless have acquired 
for themselves independent of my help, but which I acquire 
with less labour and by a shorter path. 

While all these are disturbed and divided by the multi 
farious objects to which their thoughts must be applied, the 
philosopher pursues, in solitary silence and in unbroken 
concentration of mind, his single and undeviating course 
towards the Good, the Beautiful, and the True; and has for 
his daily labour that to which others can only resort at 
times for rest and refreshment after toil. This fortunate lot 
has fallen upon me among others ; and therefore I now pro 
pose to communicate to you here, so far as I myself possess 
it and understand how to communicate it to you, whatever 
may be so appropriated from my speculative labours, intelli 
gible to the general mind, and conducive to the attainment 
of the Good, the Beautiful, and the Eternal. 

( 313 ) 



STRICT order and method will, naturally and without farther 
care on our part, arise throughout the whole subject-matter 
of the discourses which I here propose to address to you, as 
soon as we shall have made good our entrance within its 
boundaries and set our foot firmly on its domain. As yet 
we are still occupied with this last-mentioned business; and 
with regard to it, the chief thing we have now to do is to 
acquire a clearer and freer insight into the essential prin 
ciples which were set forth in our last lecture. In our next 
lecture we shall go over once again that which we have 
already said; proceeding however from a different starting- 
point, and employing a different language. 

For to-day I entreat you to enter with me on the follow 
ing preliminary considerations : 

We wish to acquire a clear insight, I said : clearness, 
however, is only to be found in depth; on the surface there 
never lies aught but obscurity and confusion. He, therefore, 
who invites you to clear knowledge, must necessarily in 
vite you to descend with him into the depths of thought, 
And thus I will by no means deny, but rather openly declare 
at the outset, that I have already in my previous lecture 
touched upon the deepest foundations and elements of all 

r a 


knowledge, beyond which there is no knowledge; and that 
in my next lecture I propose to set forth these same ele 
ments, or, in the language of the schools, the profoundest 
Metaphysics and Ontology, in a different and indeed in 
a popular way. 

Against such an undertaking as the present two objec 
tions are commonly urged, either that it is impossible to 
treat these subjects in a popular way, or that it is un- 
aduisable to do so, the latter objection being sometimes 
made by philosophers who would willingly make a mystery 
of their knowledge ; and I must before all things answer 
these objections, in order that in addition to the difficulties 
of the subject itself I may not besides have to combat an 
aversion to it on your part. 

In the first place, as regards the possibility : I indeed do 
not know whether any philosopher whatever, or in particu 
lar myself, has ever succeeded or ever shall succeed in ele 
vating, by way of popular instruction, those who either will 
not or cannot study philosophy systematically to the com 
prehension of its fundamental truths. But, on the other 
hand, I do know, and perceive with absolute certainty, the 
two following truths : First, that if any man do not at 
tain to insight into these elements of all knowledge, the 
artistic and systematic development of which alone, but not 
their substance, has become the exclusive property of scien 
tific philosophy, if any man, I say, do not attain to insight 
into these elements of all knowledge, then such a man can 
likewise never attain to Thought, and to a true inward in 
dependence of spirit, but remains enthralled within the 
limits of mere Opinion, and, during his whole life, is never 
a proper individual mind, but only an appendix to other 
minds ; he wants an organ of the spiritual sense and that 
the noblest of them all : that, therefore, the assertion, that 
it is neither possible nor advisable to elevate those who can 
not study philosophy systematically to an insight into the 
nature of the spiritual world by some other means, is just 


equivalent to this, that it is impossible that any one who 
has not studied in the schools should ever attain to true 
Thought and spiritual independence ; the school alone, and 
nothing but the school, being the sole progenitor and nurs 
ing mother of mind ; or that, even were it possible, it would 
not be advisable ever to give spiritual freedom to the un 
learned, but that these should always remain under the 
guardianship of pretended philosophers,a mere appanage to 
their sovereign understanding. For the rest, the distinction 
which we have here touched upon between true Thought 
and mere Opinion will become perfectly clear and distinct 
at the beginning of our next lecture. 

Secondly, I know and perceive, with like certainty, the 
following : that it is only by means of Thought, proper, 
pure, and true thought, and absolutely by no other organ, 
that man can approach the Godhead and the Blessed Life 
which proceeds from the Godhead, and can bring them 
home to himself; that therefore the assertion that it is 
impossible to communicate profound truth in a popular 
way is equivalent to this, that only through a syste 
matic study of philosophy is it possible for man to 
elevate himself to Religion and its blessings, and that 
every one who is not a philosopher must remain for 
ever shut out from God and his kingdom. In our argu 
ment everything depends upon the principle that the 
True God and the True Religion are to be approached 
and comprehended only by pure Thought; and we must 
often dwell upon this principle and endeavour to make 
it evident on all sides. Religion does not consist in that 
wherein it is placed by the common mode of thought, 
namely in this, that man should believe, be of opinion, 
and rest satisfied, because no one has the hardihood to 
assert the opposite, his belief resting wholly on hearsay 
and outward assurance, that there is a GOD : this is a 
vulgar superstition \)j which, at most, a defective police 
system may be remedied, while the inward nature of man 


remains as bad as before, and indeed frequently is made 
worse, since he forms this God after his own image, and in 
him only manufactures a new prop for his own corruption. 
But herein Religion does consist, that man in his own per 
son and not in that of another, with his own spiritual eye 
and not through thatof another, should immediately behold, 
have, and possess God. This, however, is possible only by 
means of pure, independent Thought, for only through this 
does man assume true and real personality, and this alone is 
the eye to whioh God can become visible. ]Pure Thought 
I is jtse]-ibe Divine Existence ; and, on the other hand, 
the Divine Existence, in its immediate essence, is nothing 
N else than pure Thought. 

Besides, to look at this matter historically, the assump 
tion that absolutely all men without exception ma,y come 
to the knowledge of God, as well as the effort to raise them 
all to this knowledge, is the assumption and the effort of 
Christianity ; and, since Christianity is the developing 
principle and peculiar characteristic of modern time, this 
assumption and this effort form the peculiar spirit of the 
Age of the New Testament. Now the two expressions, 
to elevate all men without exception to the knowledge of 
God, and, to communicate to mankind at large the deep 
est elements and foundations of knowledge in another way 
than that of systematic instruction, mean strictly and 
entirely one and the same thing. It is clear, therefore, 
that every one who does not wish to return to the ancient 
times of Heathendom must admit not only the possibility, 
but the irremissible duty, of communicating to men the 
profoundest principles of knowledge in a generally com 
prehensible form. 

But, to close this argument for the possibility of a 
popular exposition of the profoundest truth with the most 
decisive proof, that of facts : Has then this knowledge, 
which we have undertaken, by means of these lectures, to 
unfold in those who as yet have it not, and to strengthen 


and purify in those who already possess it, has it never 
until our time been present in the world, and do we pre 
tend now to introduce something wholly new and hitherto 
nowhere discoverable ? We would not wish to think that 
this latter had even been said of us ; but, on the contrary, 
we maintain that this knowledge, in all its clearness and\ 
purity, which we can by no means surpass, and in every 
age from the origin of Christianity downwards, although 
for the most part unrecognized, and even persecuted by 
the dominant church, has yet, here and. there, secretly 
ruled the minds of men and disseminated itself abroad. 
On the other hand, we do not hesitate to say that the 
method of clear, consecutive, systematic, and scientific de 
duction, by which we for our part have attained to this 
knowledge, has in former times, not indeed in respect of 
trial, but certainly in respect of success, been unknown in 
the world ; and that, under the guidance of the spirit of our 
.great forefathers, it has been for the most part our own work. 
If, then, this scientific, philosophical insight was before 
awanting, in what way did Christ, or since, in his case, 
some will assume for it a miraculous, supernatural origin, 
which I will not here dispute, in what way did Christ s 
Apostles, in what way did all those who, from their time 
down to our own, have possessed this knowledge, in 
what way did they actually acquire it ? Among the for 
mer, as among the latter, there were many very unlearned 
persons, wholly ignorant of philosophy or even opposed to 
it ; the few among them who meddled with philosophy at 
all, and with Avhose philosophy we are acquainted, so 
philosophized that it is easy for the educated man to per 
ceive that it was not to their philosophy that they owed 
their insight. But to say, that they did not obtain that 
insight by way of philosophy, is just to say, that they did 
obtain it in a popular way. Why then should that which 
has been possible heretofore, in an unbroken sequence for 
nearly two thousand } 7 ears, be now impossible ? Why 


should that which was possible with very imperfect aids, 
at a period when general enlightenment was nowhere to 
be found in the world, be no longer possible now when 
the needful aids have been perfected, and, at least in philo 
sophy, the requisite enlightenment exists? Why should 
that which was possible when religious faith and natural 
understanding were yet at variance to a certain extent, 
become impossible now that they have been reconciled to 
each other, and, forgetting their former disunion, pursue 
in friendship one and the same end ? 

That which follows most decisively from all these con 
siderations is the duty incumbent upon every man who is 
penetrated by this higher knowledge to exert all his powers 
to communicate that knowledge, wherever possible, to the 
whole brotherhood of humanity ; presenting it to each in 
dividual in that form in which it is most accessible to 
him ; never debating with himself, nor wavering in doubt, 
whether or not it may succeed, but labouring as if it must 
of necessity succeed; and after each completed effort, 
rising with new and fresh vigour as if nothing had yet 
been attained ; and, on the other hand, the duty of each 
individual who is not yet in possession of this knowledge, 
or who does not possess it in fitting clearness and freedom 
and as an ever-present possession, to devote himself wholly 
and unreservedly to the instruction thus offered to him, 
as if it were destined for him especially, and belonged to 
him, and must of necessity be understood by him ; not 
fearfully and timidly exclaiming " Ah ! shall I indeed 
understand it ? " or, " Do I then understand it rightly ? " 
Understand it rightly, in the sense of perfect comprehension, 
would be saying much ; in this sense, these lectures may 
perhaps be understood fully only by such as could them 
selves have spoken them. But it will have been under 
stood, and that not erroneously, by every one who, moved 
by these discourses, is elevated above the common view 
of the world, and inspired with exalted sentiments and 


resolves. The reciprocal obligation to both these duties 
lies at the foundation of the contract we entered into at 
the beginning of these lectures. I will unweariedly search 
for new forms, applications, and combinations, as if it were 
impossible to make myself fully intelligible to you : do 
you on the other hand, that is, you who seek instruction 
here for to the others I willingly limit myself to counsel 
do you proceed with earnestness and courage to the 
business,, as if you had to understand me by hints or half 
words only ; and in this way I believe that we shall agree 
well together. 

These considerations on the possibility and necessity of a 
generally comprehensible exposition of the deepest elements 
of knowledge acquire a new significance and convincing 
power, when we examine more strictly the peculiar and 
characteristic distinction between the Popular and the 
Scientific discourse ; a distinction which, so far as I am 
aware, is virtually unknown, and which, in particular, 
lies wholly concealed from those who talk so readily of 
the possibility and impossibility of popular expositions. 
The Scientific discourse eliminates truth from amono- 


the errors which surround and oppose it on all sides 
and in every form ; and, by demolition of these opposing 
views as error and as impossible to true thought, shows 
the truth as that which alone remains after their ex 
clusion, and therefore as the only possible truth : and 
in this separation of opposites, and elucidation of the 
truth from the confused chaos in which truth and error 
lie mingled together, consists the peculiar and character 
istic nature of the Scientific discourse. By this method 
truth emerges before our eyes out of a world full of 
error. Now it is obvious that the philosopher, before 
;such sifting of truth, before he could either project or begin 
it, and therefore independent of scientific proof, must al 
ready possess truth. But how could he attain possession of 
it except by the guidance of a natural sense of truth which 


exists in him with higher power than in his contempora 
ries ? and in what other way, then, has he at first 
attained it but by the un artificial popular way ? To 
this natural sense of truth, which is thus seen to be the 
starting-point even of scientific philosophy, the Popular 
discourse addresses itself immediately without calling 
aught else to its aid, setting forth the truth, and 
nothing but the truth, purely and simply, as it is in 
itself and not as it stands opposed to error, and cal 
culates upon the spontaneous assent of this natural 
sense of truth. This discourse cannot indeed prove any 
thing, but it must certainly be understood ; for intelligence 
itself is the only organ whereby we can apprehend its im 
port, and without this it cannot reach us at all. Tho Scien 
tific discourse presupposes in the hearer an entanglement in 
the meshes of error, and addresses itself to a diseased and 
perverted spiritual nature ; the Popular discourse presup 
poses an open and candid mind, and appeals to a healthy, 
although not sufficiently cultivated, spiritual nature. After 
all this, how can the philosopher entertain a doubt that 
the natural sense of truth in man is sufficient to lead 
him to the knowledge of truth, since he himself has 
attained to that knowledge by this means and no other ? 

But notwithstanding that the comprehension of the deep 
est truths of lleason, by means of a popular exposition, is 
possible, notwithstanding further that this comprehension 
is a necessary purpose of humanity towards the attainment 
of which every power ought to be directed, we must never 
theless acknowledge that there are, in the present age^ 
greater hindrances to the accomplishment of this purpose 
than have existed at any previous time. In the first place, 
the very form of this higher truth, this strictly determi 
nate, settled, absolutely unchanging and unchangeable form, 
comes into collision, and that in a two-fold manner, with 
the hesitating modesty which this age has not indeed in 
itself but yet would exact from every one who undertakes 


to deal with it. It is not to be denied that this knowledge 
assumes itself to be true, and alone true, and true only in 
the sharp and complete precision in which it is thus an 
nounced, and everything opposed to it, absolutely and 
without exception or mitigation, to be false; that therefore 
it seeks, without forbearance, to subdue all weak partiali 
ties, all vagrant fancies, and wholly disdains to enter into any 
treaty or compromise with the other side. The men of these 
days are offended at this severity, as if they were thereby 
grievously ill-treated; they would be deferentially saluted, 
and consulted as to whether they will lend their sanction to 
such a matter ; would make conditions on their side, and 
there should be some elbow-room left for their tricks of le 
gerdemain. Others are dissatisfied with this form of truth, 
because it requires them at once to take their part for or 
against, and to decide on the instant yes or no. For they 
are in no haste to know for certain about that which never 
theless is alone worth knowing, and would willingly suspend 
their judgment in case it should afterwards turn out to be 
wholly otherwise; and besides it is very convenient to con 
ceal their want of understanding under the fashionable and 
high-sounding name of Scepticism, and to allow mankind 
to believe that there, where in fact they have been found 
wanting in power to comprehend that which lies clear 
before them, it has been their superior acuteness and pene 
tration which has disclosed to them certain unheard-of, 
and to all other men inaccessible, grounds for doubt. 

Again, there is a hindrance to the successful issue of our 
-undertaking in this age, in the monstrously paradoxical, 
strange, and unheard-of appearance of our doctrine, since it 
turns into falsehood precisely those things which the age 
has hitherto prized as the most precious and sacred results 
of its culture and enlightenment. Not as if our doctrine 
were in itself new and paradoxical. Among the Greeks, 
Plato held the same faith. The Johannean Christ said 
precisely the same things which we teach and prove, and 

s a 


even said them in the same language which \ve here 
employ ; and in these very times, arid among our own 
nation, our two greatest Poets have given expression to 
the same truth in manifold applications and under many 
forms. But the Johannean Christ has been superseded by 
his less spiritual followers; and Poets, it is thought, desire 
only to utter fine words and to produce musical sounds. 

That this ancient doctrine, which has thus been renewed 
from age to age down even to these later times, should yet 
seem so wholly new and unheard-of to this age, arises 
in this way. After the revival of learning in Modern 
Europe, and particularly since, by means of the Church 
Reformation, the examination of the highest religious 
truth was freely laid open to the mind, there gradually 
arose a philosophy which made the experiment whether 
the books of Nature and of Knowledge, which were to 
it unintelligible, might not assume a meaning when read 
backwards ; whereby indeed everything without excep 
tion was taken out of its natural position, and set head 
downwards. This philosophy took possession, as ever} - 
prevalent philosophy necessarily does, of all the avenues 
of public instruction, catechisms, schoolbooks, public 
religious discourses, literature. All our youthful culture 
fell within this period. There is thus no wonder that, after 
the unnatural had become to us natural, Nature herself 
should seem to us unnatural; and that, after we had been 
accustomed to see all things upside-down, we should ima 
gine them to be inverted when we beheld them restored to 
their true position. This indeed is an error which will dis 
appear with the age which produced it; for we, who explain 
death by life, the body by the soul, and not the reverse as 
these moderns do, we are the true followers of the 
Ancients ; only that we see clearly what remained dark to 
them ; while the philosophy which we have alluded to above 
is not even an advance in time, but only a ludicrous inter 
lude, a petty appendix to thorough barbarism. 


Lastly, those who might perchance of themselves over 
come the two hindrances now pointed out, may yet be 
scared back by the hateful and malignant objections urged 
by the fanatics of perversity. It may indeed be wondered 
at that such perversity, not satisfied with being in its own 
person perverse, should besides exhibit a fanatical zeal for 
the maintenance and diffusion of the same perversitv in 
others. Yet even this may be readily explained, and in 
this way. When these fanatics had reached the years of re 
flection and self-knowledge, and had examined themselves 
and their own inward being, and found nothing there but 
the impulse towards personal, sensuous, well-being, had not 
felt the slightest desire either to discover within themselves, 
or to acquire from without, anything but what they found 
there, they have then looked around upon their fellow- 
men, observed them, and fancied that neither was there 
anything to be met with in them higher than this same im 
pulse towards personal, sensuous, well-being. Hereupon 
they have satisfied themselves that in this consists the es 
sential nature of humanity; and having cultivated this na 
ture in themselves with unremitting care and to the highest 
possible perfection, they have necessarily become in their 
own eyes the most preeminent and distinguished among 
men, since they were conscious of being virtuosi in those 
things wherein the worth of humanity consists. Thus have 
they thought and acted throughout life. But should it ap 
pear that they have been mistaken in the major proposition 
of their syllogism, if in others of their species there has 
been manifested something else, and in this case something 
undeniably higher and more divine than the mere impulse 
towards personal, sensuous, well being, then they who had 
hitherto held themselves to be men of distinguished preemi 
nence would be found to belong to a lower race, and instead 
of as before esteeming themselves higher than all others, 
they would be compelled thenceforward to despise and reject 
themselves. They cannot do otherwise than angrily oppose 


this conviction of a higher nature in man, which brings only 
disgrace to them, and all phenomena which confirm this 
conviction ; they must necessarily do everything in their 
power to keep such phenomena at a distance from them 
selves, and even to suppress them altogether; they struggle 
for life, for the most delicate and innermost root of their 
life, for the possibility of self-endurance. All fanaticism, 
and all its angry exhibitions, from the beginning of the 
world down to the present day, have proceeded from this 
principle : " If my opponent be right, then am I a 
miserable man." Where this fanaticism can wield fire 
and sword, with fire and s\vord it assails its detested 
adversary ; where these instruments are beyond its reach, 
it has still the tongue left, which, if it do not kill the 
foe, is yet frequently able to cripple his activity and 
influence with others. One of the most favourite and 
customary tricks of tongue-fence among these fanatics is 
this: to give to the thing which is hateful only to 
them, a name which is hateful to all men, in order there 
by to decry it and render it suspected. The existing 
store of such tricks and nicknames is inexhaustible, and is 
constantly enriched by fresh additions ; and it would be in 
vain to attempt here any complete enumeration of them. 
I shall notice only one of the most common of these odious 
nicknames, i.e. the charge that this doctrine which we 
teach is Mysticism.* 

* " Above all, the mysticism of Fichte might astonish us. The cold, 
colossal, adamantine spirit, standing erect and clear, like a Cato Major 
among degenerate men ; fit to have been the teacher of the Stoa, and to have 
discoursed of Beauty and Virtue in the groves of Academe ! Our reader 
has seen some words of Fichte s : are these like words of a mystic ? . . . 

We figure his motionless look, had he heard this charge of 

mysticism ! For the man rises before us, amid contradiction and debate, 
like a granite mountain amid clouds and wind. Ridicule, of the best thab 
could be commanded, had been already tried against him ; but it could 
not avail. What was the wit of a thousand wits to him] The cry of a 
thousand choughs assaulting that old cliff of granite : seen from the sum 
mit, these, as they winged the midway air, showed scarce so gross as beetles, 
and their cry was seldom even audible." CAELYLE. 


Observe, in the first place, with reference to the form of 
this accusation, that should any candid unprejudiced person 
answer : " Well, let us suppose that it is Mysticism, and 
that Mysticism is an erroneous and dangerous thino- ; } e t 
him for that very reason bring forward his doctrine, and we 
will hear him: if it is erroneous and dangerous, this will 
come to light when the opportunity is given;" these fana 
tics must reply, in accordance with the peremptory de 
cision by which they believe they have got rid of us; 
"There is nothing more to hear; Mysticism has long 
ago, for some generations back, by the unanimous voice of 
all our literary Councils, been decreed to be heresy and 
placed under excommunication." 

Further to proceed from the form of this accusation to 
its substance ; What then is this Mysticism which they 
lay to our charge ? We shall not indeed receive a distinct 
.answer to this question from them : for as they never 
possess a clear, idea, but only think about high-sounding 
phrases, so in this case they have no conception answering 
to their words ; we must therefore help ourselves. There 
is, unquestionably, a view of spiritual and sacred things 
which, although correct in the main, is nevertheless 
afflicted with a grievous infirmit} , and thereby rendered 
impure and noxious. In my lectures of last year,* I 
took occasion, in passing, to delineate this view, and I 
may perhaps find it necessary this season to return to 
the subject. This view, which in part is certainly a 
much perverted one, is properly distinguished from the 
true reliyious view by the name of Mysticism ; I my 
self am wont to make this distinction, employing the 
names just mentioned ; and from this Mysticism my 
doctrine is far removed, and indeed wholly opposed to 
it. Thus, I sa} r , do I regard the matter. But what 
would the fanatics ? The distinction I have mentioned is 

* " Characteristics of the Present Age," Lecture VIII. 


completely concealed from their eyes, as well as from the 
eyes of that philosophy which they follow ; according to 
their unanimous resolutions, their criticisms, their discus 
sions, their favourite works, and all their public manifesta 
tions without exception, which he who can may examine 
for himself, and the others may believe me upon trust, ac 
cording to these unanimous resolutions, it is always the 
True Religion, the Knowledge of God in spirit and in 
truth, which they call Mysticism, and against which, in 
fact, under this name, they hurl their anathema. Their 
warnings against this doctrine, as Mysticism, therefore, 
mean nothing else than what may be thus paraphrased : 
"Yonder they will tell you of the existence of a spi 
ritual world, revealed to no outward sense, but to be 
apprehended only by pure thought : you are lost if you 
allow yourselves to be persuaded of this, for there is 
absolutely no existence but that which we can grasp witli 
our hand, and we have nothing else to care for ; all else are 
mere abstractions from the substantial realities we can 
handle, with no substance in themselves, but which these 
enthusiasts confound with palpable reality. They will tell 
you of the reality, the inward independence, the creative 
power of thought : you are lost to real life if you believe 
them; for there is nothing really existing but, in the first 
place, the stomach, and then that which supports it and 
supplies it with food ; and it is only the gases that have 
their birth in it which these dreamers call ideas." We ad 
mit the whole accusation, and willingly confess, not without 
joyful and exulting feelings, that, in this sense of the word, 
our doctrine is indeed Mysticism. With these we have 
therefore no new controversy to begin, but find ourselves 
in the old controversy, never to be solved or reconciled ; 
i.e. they say that all Religion truly it may be said of 
the vulgar superstition we have before alluded to is 
something in the highest degree objectionable and per 
nicious, and must be extirpated from the earth, root and 


branch ; and so the matter remains with them, while we 
say that True Religion is something in the highest degree 
blessed, and that which alone gives true existence, worth, 
and dignity to man, here below and throughout eternity ; 
and that every power must be put forth in order that this 
Religion may, wherever it is possible, be made known to 
all men ; this we recognise with absolute certainty, and 
thus the matter remains on our side. 

Meanwhile, that these persons should rather choose to say 
" That is Mysticism," than, as they ought to say, " That is 
Religion." arises, among other causes which do not belong to 
our present subject, from the following : They desire by 
this language, in the first place, imperceptibly to induce a 
fear that, by means of this our doctrine, there may be intro 
duced intolerance, desireof persecution, insubordination, and 
civil disturbance ; or that, in one word, this doctrine is dan 
gerous to the State -.secondly and chiefly, they wish to 
create alarm, in those who may enter upon inquiries like 
the present, as to their continuance in possession of a sound 
mind, and to give them to understand that in this way they 
may come at last to see ghosts in broad daylight which 
would be a very great misfortune indeed. As to the first, 
the danger to the State : they lay hold of the wrong 
name for that from which danger may be feared, and 
they doubtless calculate quite securely that no one will 
be found to discover the change ; for neither that which 
they call Mysticism the True Religion nor that which 
we call by that name, has ever been known to perse 
cute, to show intolerance, or to stir up civil commotion ; 
throughout the whole history of Churches, heresies, and per 
secutions, the persecuted party have ever occupied a propor 
tionally higher, and the persecutors a lower position ; the 
latter fighting, as we said above, for life. No! intolerance, 
desire of persecution, insubordination toward the State, 
belong only to that spirit by which they themselves are ani 
mated, the fanaticism of perversity ; and, if it were other- 


wise advisable, I would willingly Lave the fetters struck off 
this very day from the enslaved, that it might be seen what 
course they would take. As to the second object of solici 
tude, the preservation of a sound mind : this depends in 
the first instance on physical organization ; and against in 
fluences of this kind, even the shallowest inanity, the lowest 
vulgarity of soul, is by no means a safe-guard; hence there 
is no occasion to throw ourselves into such a refuge in 
order to escape the threatened danger. So far as I know,, 
or have known, even those who live amid those investi 
gations of which we now speak, and find in them their unin 
terrupted daily labour, are by no means exposed to these 
distractions, see no ghosts, and are as healthy, in mind and 
body, as others. If, sometimes in life, they do not what 
most other men in their place would have done, or do what 
most other men in the same place would have left undone, 
it is not because they are deficient in acuteness to perceive 
the possibility of the one course of action, or the conse 
quences of the other, as those who, in their place, would 
certainly have done otherwise cannot refrain from thinking, 
but for other reasons. If there must always be diseased 
spiritual natures, who as soon as they quit their housekeep 
ing books, or whatever other morsel of reality gives employ 
ment to their faculties, forthwith fall into the mazes of 
error, let such remain by their housekeeping books! but I 
trust that the general rule may not be taken from them, 
who, it is to be hoped, are the smaller number and are cer 
tainly of the lower species ; nor, because there are feeble 
and diseased creatures among men, the whole human race 
be treated as if they were feeble and diseased. That we 
have interested ourselves in the deaf, dumb, and blind, arid 
have invented away whereby instruction may be communi 
cated to them, is deserving of all thanks; from the deaf and 
dumb, namely, and the blind. But if we were to make this 
method of instruction the universal plan of education for 
persons without these defects, because such persons may 


encounter deaf, dumb, and blind people, and we should 
thus be sure that we had provided for all ; if he who 
can hear should, without regard to his hearing, be made 
to talk by the same laborious process as the deaf and 
dumb, and require to learn to detect the words upon the 
lips ; and he who can see should, without regard to his see 
ing, be taught to read the letters by the touch; this would 
deserve little thanks indeed from those who are without 
defect, although such an arrangement would certainly be 
adopted as soon as the direction of public instruction 
should be made dependent on the opinion of the deaf and 
dumb and the blind. 

These are the preliminary suggestions and considerations 
which I have thought it advisable to communicate to you 
to-day. Eight days hence I shall endeavour to set forth, in 
a new light and upon a new side, the foundation-principles 
of these lectures, which are at the same time the foun 
dation-principles of all knowledge ; and to this I respect 
fully invite you. 


( 331 ) 





IN the first of these lectures we maintained that not every 
thing which seems to be living does really and truly live ; 
and in the second we said that a large portion of mankind, 
throughout their whole Life, never attain to true and proper 
Thought, but remain within the limits of mere Opinion. It 
might well be, and indeed it has already become obvious 
from other remarks which we made on that occasion, that 
the phrases Thought and Life Though t-lessness and 
Death, mean precisely one and the same thing ; we have 
already shown that Thought is the element of Life, and 
consequently the absence of Thought must be the source 
of Death. 

An important difficulty stands in the way of this asser 
tion, to which I must now direct your attention, namely the 
following : If Life be an organic whole, determined by one 
universally efficient law, then it seems at first sight impos 
sible that any one part appertaining to Life should be ab 
sent where the others are present ; or that any one indivi 
dual part should exist without all the parts proper to Life, 
and consequently without Life itself as a whole, in its com 
plete organic unity. In solving this difficulty, we shall also 


be able to exhibit to you clearly the distinction between 
true Thought and mere Opinion, which was the first busi 
ness for to-day as announced in our last discourse, before 
we proceed to the fulfilment of our other purpose in this 
lecture, namely, to begin our mutual application of pure 
Thought itself to the elements of all Knowledge. 

The supposed difficulty is thus solved : Wherever spiri 
tual Life is to be found, everything, without exception, 
that belongs to this Life, follows wholly and unreserved 
ly, according to the established law of its being : but 
all this, which follows with absolute, and as it were 
mechanical, necessity, does not necessarily enter into 
consciousness ; it is there indeed, a Life according to the 
law, but not our Life, not the Life which is properly 
and peculiarly ours. Our Life is only that part of the 
Life according to the law which we embrace in clear 
consciousness, and, in this clear consciousness, love and en 
joy. " Where Love is, there is individual Life," we said 
once ; Love, however, exists only where there is clear 

The development of this Conscious Life which in these 
lectures is all to which we shall give the name of Life 
within the whole mass of Life which has an existence ac 
cording to the law, proceeds precisely like that of physical 
death. As this, in its natural progress, begins at first in the 
remoter members, those farthest removed from the central 
seat of life, and from them spreads itself gradually to the 
inward parts, until at last it reaches the heart ; so does the 
spiritual Life, filled with consciousness, love, and enjoyment 
of itself, begin at first in the extremities and remoter out 
works of Life, until it also, with God s good pleasure, reaches 
the true foundation and central point of all. An ancient 
philosopher maintained that the animals had arisen from 
the earth ; " as happens," he added, " even to the present 
day in miniature, since every spring, particularly after a 
warm rain, we may observe frogs, for example, in whom 


some particular part, perhaps the fore-feet, may be quite 
perfectly developed, while the other members still remain a 
rude and undeveloped clod of earth." The half-animals of 
this philosopher, although they scarcely afford sufficient 
evidence of what they were designed to prove, yet present a 
very striking illustration of the spiritual Life of ordinary 
men. The outward members of this Life are indeed 
perfectly formed and warm blood flows through the ex 
tremities ; but when we look to the heart, and the other 
nobler organs of life, which in like manner are there, 
and must necessarily be there since otherwise even the 
outward members themselves could not have been, 
these organs, I say, are found to be still unsentient 
clods frozen rocks. 

I shall, first of all, convince you of this by a striking 
example ; to which, although I shall express myself with 
strict precision,! must yet require your particular attention, 
on account of the novelty of the observation. We see, hear, 
feel outward objects ; and along with this seeing, c., we 
also think these objects, and are conscious of them by means 
of our inward sense ; just as we are conscious, by the same 
inward sense, of our seeing, hearing, and feeling of these ob 
jects. I hope that no one who is possessed even of the com 
monest power of reflection will maintain that he can see, 
hear, or feel an object without being at the same time in 
wardly conscious both of the object itself, and of his 
seeing, hearing, or feeling of" it ; that he can see, hear, 
or feel anything definite without consciousness. This 
co-existence, this inseparability of the outward, sensible 
perception and the inward thought or conception, this 
co-existence, I say, and nothing more than this, lies in 
practical self-observation or the fact of Consciousness ; 
but this fact of consciousness does by no means con 
tain, and I beg you to note this well, this fact of 
consciousness does by no means contain any relation 
between these two elements, the outward Sense and 


the inward Thought, a relation of the one to the other, 
it may be as Cause and Effect, or as Essential and Acci 
dental. If any such relation between the two be assumed, 
this is not in consequence of practical self-observation, 
and it does not lie in the fact of consciousness : this is 
the first thing that I beg of you to understand and 
keep in mind. 

Now, in the second place, should such a relation be as 
sumed upon some other ground than that of self-observa 
tion, which other possible ground we put in the place of 
consciousness, should such a relation between the two 
elements be, upon such a ground, supposed and accepted, 
then it appears, at first sight, that the two elements, as co 
existent and inseparable from each other, must be held to 
be of equal rank ; and thus the inward thought may as well 
be regarded as the foundation, the essential, and the out 
ward perception as the superstructure, the accident, as the 
reverse ; and in this way an insoluble doubt would neces 
sarily arise between the two suppositions, which would for 
ever prevent any final decision respecting the assumed re 
lation. Thus, I say, it is at first sight ; but should any 
one look deeper into the matter, then, inasmuch as the 
inward consciousness embraces even the outward sense it 
self, since we are conscious of the seeing, hearing, or feel 
ing, but can by no means, on the other hand, see, hear, or 
feel our consciousness, and thus, even in the immediate 
fact, consciousness assumes the higher place : then, I say, 
such an one would find it much more natural to make the 
internal Consciousness the chief thing, and the external 
Sense the subordinate thing; to explain the latter by the 
former; to control and try the latter by the former; and 
\not the reverse. 

Now how does the common mode of thought proceed in 
this matter ? To it, the outward Sense is, without further 
inquiry, the first thing, the immediate touchstone of truth : 
whatever is seen, heard, or felt, that is, just because it is 


seen, heard, or felt. The Thought, or inward consciousness 
of the object, comes afterwards, as a mere formal ad 
dition which is scarcely to be noticed at all, and is 
quite willingly dispensed with if it do not force itself 
upon our observation ; and a thing is never seen or 
heard because it is thought, but it is thought because 
it is seen or heard, and that under the guidance and 
control of this seeing and hearing. The perverse and 
absurd modern philosophy referred to in our last lecture 
as the peculiar organ and voice of common opinion, comes 
forward and unblushingly declares : " Outward sense is 
the only source of reality, and all our knowledge is founded 
upon experience alone ; " as if this were an axiom to 
which no one would presume to offer a single objection. 
How is it that this common mode of thought, and its 
guardians, have so easily set aside the causes of doubt 
which we have just noticed, and even the positive 
grounds for the adoption of the opposite view, as if they 
had not even an existence ? Why does the opposite 
view, which, even at the first glance, and as yet without 
any deeper investigation, recommends itself as much 
more natural and probable, that the whole outwards 
Sense, and all its objects, are founded upon Thought I 
alone, and that a sensible perception is possible only in 
Thought, and as something thought, as a determination 
of the general consciousness, but by no means in itself and 
separated from consciousness, I mean, the view that it is 
not true that we see, hear, and feel absolutely, but only 
that we are conscious of seeing, hearing, feeling, why does 
this view which we profess, and which we recognise with 
absolute certainty to be the only right one, while we also 
clearly perceive its opposite to be a palpable absurdity, 
why does this view, or even the possibility of it, remain 
wholly concealed from the common mode of thought ? It 
may easily be explained : The judgment of this mode of 
thought is the necessary expression of its actual degree of 


life. For those who cannot go beyond this mode of thought, 
Life dwells, in the meantime, only in outward Sense, the re 
motest extremity of the nascent spiritual Life ; in outward 
Sense they have their whole round of being, their most vital 
existence; in it alone they feel, love, and enjoy; and,, 
of necessity, where their heart is there is their faith 
also : in Thought, on the contrary, Life does not spring 
forth before them directly as living flesh arid blood, but 
seems rather a formless mass; and therefore Thought 
appears to them to be a vague and uncertain mist, be 
longing neither to themselves nor to the matter in 
hand. Should they ever come so far as to attain a more 
intense existence in Thought than in seeing or hearing, 
and to feel and enjoy in it more keenly than in Sense, 
then would their judgment also be different from what 
it is. 

Thus is Thought, even in its lowest manifestation, de 
graded and made of no account by the common view of 
things, because this common view does not place the seat of 
its Life in Thought, has not even extended its spiritual 
feelers thus far. Thought in its lowest manifestation, I said; 
for that, and nothing more, is this thought of external 
objects, which has an antitype, a competitor for truth, in aa 
outward sensible perception. Thought, in its high and 
proper form, is that which creates its own purely spiritual 
object absolutely from itself, without the aid of outward 
sense, and without any reference whatever to outward sense. 
In ordinary life this mode of thought presents itself when, 
for example, the question arises with regard to the origin of 
the World, or of the Human Race ; or regarding the inter 
nal laws of Nature; where, in the first case, it is clear that 
at the creation of the world, and before the appearance of 
the human race, there was no observer present whose expe 
rience could be cited ; and, in the second case, the question 
is not regarding specific phenomena, but regarding that in 
which all individual phenomena coincide; and that which 

LECTURE m. 337 

is to be evolved is not any visible event, but a mental 
necessity, which not only is, but is thus, and cannot be 
otherwise: that is, an object proceeding entirely from 
Thought itself: which first point I beg of you thoroughly 
to understand and recognise. 

In matters pertaining to this higher Thought, the adher 
ents of the common view proceed after this wise : they let 
others invent, or, where they are possessed of greater power, 
they invent for themselves, by means of vagrant and law 
less thought, or, as it is called, fancy, one out of many 
possible ways in which the actual fact in question may have 
arisen; in the language of the schools they make an hypo 
thesis: they then consult their desire, fear, hope, or what 
ever may be their ruling passion for the time, and, should it 
assent, the fiction becomes established as a firm and unal 
terable truth. One of the many possible ways, I said ; and 
this is the leading characteristic of the proceeding we have 
described : but it is necessary that this expression should 
be correctly understood. For, in itself, it is not true that 
anything whatever is possible in many different ways; but 
everything that is, is possible, actual, and at the same time 
necessary, only in one perfectly fixed and definite way : 
and herein, indeed, lies the fundamental error of this pro 
ceeding, that it assumes many different possibilities, from 
which it proceeds to select one for adoption, without being 
able to verify this one by anything but its own caprice. 
This proceeding is what we call Opinion, in opposition 
to true Thought. Opinion, like Thought itself, possesses 
as its domain the whole region lying beyond sensuous 
experience; this region it fills with the productions of 
fancy, either of others or its own, to which desire alone 
gives substance and duration; and all this happens simply 
and solely because the seat of its spiritual Life is as 
yet no higher than in the extremities of blind desire or 

True Thought proceeds in a different way in filling up 

u a 


this super-sensual region. It does not invent, but spon 
taneously perceives, not one possibility among many, but 
the one and only possible, actual, and necessary mode; and 
this does not seek its confirmation in a proof lying beyond 
itself, but it contains within itself its own confirmation ; 
and, as soon as it is conceived, becomes evident to Thought 
itself as the only possible and absolutely certain Truth, 
establishing itself in the soul with an immovable certainty 
and evidence that completely destroys even the possibility 
of doubt. Since this certainty, as we have said, attaches it 
self at once to the living act of Thought in its immediate 
vitality, and to this only, it follows that every one who 
would become a partaker in this certainty, must himself, 
and in his own person, think the Truth, and cannot commit 
to any other the accomplishment of this business in his 
stead. Only this preliminary remark I desired to make 
before proceeding, as I now do, to our mutual applica 
tion of true Thought to the highest elements of Know 

The first task of such Thought is to conceive of Being 
in itself with strict exactitude. I approach this concep 
tion thus ; I say : Being (Seyri), proper and true Being, 
does not arise, does not proceed, does not come forth 
out of nothingness (Nichtseyii) . For everything which 
thus arises, you are compelled to assume a previous 
causal being, by virtue of which the other at first arose. 
If you hold that at some earlier period this second being 
has itself arisen in its turn, then you are again compelled 
to assume a third being by virtue of which the second 
arose; and should you attribute a beginning to the third, 
then you are compelled to assume a fourth, and so on for 
ever. You must, in every case, at last arrive at a Being 
that has not thus arisen, and which therefore requires no 
other thing to account for its being, but which is absolutely 
through itself, by itself, arid from itself. On this Being, to 
which you must at last ascend from out the series of created 


things, you must now and henceforward fix your attention; 
and then it will become evident to you, if you have entered 
fully with me into the preceding thoughts, that you can 
only conceive of the true Being as a Being by itself, from 
itself, arid through itself. 

In the second place I add : that within this Beino- no- 

1 O 

thing new can arise, nothing can alter its shape, nor shift 
nor change ; but that as it is now, so has it been from all 
eternity, and so it endures unchangeably in all eternity. 
For, since it is through itself alone, so is it, completely, 
without division, and without abatement, all that, through 
itself, it can be and must be. Were it at any time to become 
something new, then must it either have been previously 
hindered, by some being foreign to itself, from becoming 
this something ; or it must become this something new 
through the power of a being foreign to itself, which now 
for the first time begins to exert an influence upon it : 
both of which suppositions stand in direct contradiction to 
its absolute independence and self-sufficiency. And thus 
it will become evident to you, if you have thoroughly 
comprehended these thoughts, that Being can be con 
ceived of only as absolutely One not as Many ; only as a 
self-comprehending, self-sufficient, and absolutely un 
changeable Unity. 

By this course of thought and this is my third point 
you arrive only at a Being (Seyn) enclosed, concealed, 
wholly comprehended, in itself; you do not, by any means, 
arrive at an Ex-istence (Daseyn ./*) I say at an Ex 
istence, manifestation, or revelation of this Being. I am 
most anxious that you should understand this at once ; 

* The English language does not contain terms b} T which the opposition 
of the German " Seyn " and " Daseyn " can be expressed with the dis 
tinctness of the original. " Being and " .Existence " are here adopted 
as the nearest approach to a correct translation that our language admits 
of, although the awkwardness of the expression is obvious, and the strict 
philosophical meaning here attached to those terms is unknown in their 
common use. Tr. 


and you will undoubtedly do so when you have strictly 
considered the conception of Being as now set forth, and 
have so become conscious in yourselves of what is con 
tained in this thought, and what is not contained in it. 
The natural illusion which may obscure your minds 
against the desired insight, I shall very soon examine. 

To explain this more fully : You perceive that I dis 
tinguish Being (Seyn) essential, self-comprehended Being 
from Ex-istence (Daseyn}, and represent these two 
ideas as opposed to each other, as not even directly con 
nected with each other. This distinction is of the weightiest 
importance; and only through it can clearness and cer- 
^tainty be attained in the highest elements of Knowledge. 
What Ex-istence (Daseyn] really is, will best be made evi 
dent by actual contemplation of this Ex-istence. I say, 
therefore : Essentially and at the root the Ex-istence of 
Being is the consciousness or conception of Being; as may 
be made clear at once in the use of the word " is " when ap 
plied to any particular object, for example, to this wall. 
For, what is this " z s" in the proposition, " The wall is?" 
It is obviously not the wall itself and identical with it; it 
does not even assume that character, but it distinguishes 
the wall, by the third person, as independent; it thus only 
assumes to be an outward characteristic of essential Being, 
an image or picture of such Being, or, as we have ex 
pressed it above, and as it is most distinctly expressed, 
the immediate, outward Ex-istence of the wall, as its 
^Being out of its Being. (It is admitted that the whole of 
this experiment demands the most subtle abstraction 
and the keenest inward observation ; and it may be 
added, as the proof, that no one has thoroughly per 
formed the task, to whom it has not become evident that 
the whole, and particularly the last expression, is per 
fectly exact.) 

The common mode of thought, it is true, is not wont to 
remark this distinction ; and it may well be that what I 


have now said may seem to many something wholly new 
and unheard of. The reason of which is, that their love and 
affection are attracted directly to the object itself, and to 
it exclusively, and are wholly occupied with it, so that 
they have no time to tarry by the " is," or to consider its 
significance, and thus it is wholly lost to them. Hence it 
usually happens that, leaping over the Ex-istence (Daseyn), 
we believe that we have arrived at Being (Seyn) itself; 
while nevertheless we forever remain in the fore-court, in 
the Ex-istence: and this common delusion may render the 
proposition which we have submitted to you above, at first 
sight, dark and unintelligible. In our present inquiry, how 
ever, everything depends on our comprehending this pro 
position at once, and henceforth giving it due attention. 

We said that the Consciousness of Being, the " is " to the 
Being, is itself the Ex-istence (Daseyn) : leaving out of 
sight, in the meantime, the supposition, founded on ap 
pearance, that Consciousness may be only one among 
other possible forms, modes, and kinds of Ex-istence ; 
and that there may be many other, perhaps an infinite 
variety of, such forms, modes, and kinds of Ex-isteuce. 
This supposition, however, must now be dismissed : 
in the first place, because we here desire not to accumu 
late mere opinions, but truly to think ; and secondly, with 
reference to its consequences, for with such a possibility 
remaining, our union with the Absolute, as the only source 
of Blessedness, could never be attained ; but there would 
rather be placed, between the Absolute and us, an immea 
surable chasm as the true source of all Unblessedness. 

We have therefore to make it manifest to you in thought, 
which is our fourth point that the Consciousness of 
Being is the only possible form and mode of the Ex-istence 
(Daseyn) of Being; and, consequently, is itself immediately 
and absolutely this Ex-istence of Being. We conduct you 
to this insight in the following way : Being (Seyn) dS 
such, as Being, as abiding, unchangeable Being, without in 


any respect laying aside its absolute character and inter 
mingling or blending itself with Ex-istence must ex-ist. 
Hence it must be distinguished from, and opposed to, Ex 
istence ; and indeed since besides the absolute Being 
(Seyn) itself there is nothing else whatever but its Ex- 
istence (Daseyn) this distinction and opposition must be 
manifest in the Ex-istence (Daseyn) itself: and this, more 
clearly expressed, is equivalent to the following: Ex-ist 
ence (Daseyn) must apprehend, recognise, and image forth 
itself as mere Ex-istence : and, opposed to itself, it must as 
sume and image forth an absolute Being (Seyn), whose mere 
Ex-istence it is; it must thus, by its own nature, as opposed 
to another and an absolute existence, annihilate itself: 
which is precisely the character of mere representation, 
conception, or Consciousness of Being, as you have already 
seen in our exposition of the " is." And thus it is clear, 
if we have succeeded in making these ideas thoroughly 
intelligible to you, that the Ex-istence of Being must 
necessarily be cannot be other than a Consciousness 
of itself of Ex-istence as a mere image or representa 
tion of Absolute, Self-existent Being. 

That such is the case, and that Knowledge* or Conscious 
ness is the absolute Ex-istence (Daseyn), or, as you may 
now rather wish to say, the manifestation and revelation 
of Being (Seyn), in its only possible form : this may be 
distinctly understood and seen by Knowledge itself, as 
we all, I assume, have now seen it. But and this is our 
fifth point this Knowledge can, by no means, in itself, 
understand or see how itself arises, and how from out the 
inward, self-comprehending Being (Seyii) an Ex-istence 
(Daseyn), manifestation or revelation of itself can pro 
ceed ; as indeed we have expressly seen when dealing 

* The reader will observe that in this and the succeeding lectures the 
word " Wissen," which is here rendered by " Knowledge," is used in the 
sense of " Cognition," to express the conscious act of Knowing, and not 
either the object or the result of that act. Tr. 


with our third point, that such a sequential evolution 
lies wholly beyond our view. The reason of this is, that 
Ex-istence, as we have already shown, cannot le with 
out apprehending, recognising, and assuming itself, be 
cause such self-conception is inseparable from its nature ; 
and thus Knowledge, by the very absoluteness of its Ex 
istence, and its dependence on that Ex-istence, is cut off J 
from all possibility of passing beyond it, or of conceiving 
and tracing itself prior to that Ex-istence. It is, for itself 
and in itself, and so far well ; but wherever it is, it finds 
itself already there in a certain determinate mode, which 
it must accept just as it is presented to it, but which it 
can by no means explain, nor declare how and whereby it 
has become so. This unchangeably determined mode of 
the Ex-istence of Knowledge, which can be apprehended 
only by immediate comprehension and perception, is the 
essential arid truly real Life of Knowledge. 

But notwithstanding that this true and real Lifeof Know 
ledge cannot explain the definite mode in which it has 
arisen, it is yet susceptible of a general interpretation ; and 
we may understand and perceive with absolute certainty 
what it is according to its essential inward nature; which is 
our sixth point. I lead you to this insight thus: What we 
set forth above as our fourth point, that Ex-istence is 
necessarily Consciousness and all that is involved in that 
principle, follows from mere Ex-istence as such, and the con 
ception of such Ex-istence. Now, this Ex-istence (Daseyn) 
itself is, resting and reposing on itself alone; prior to any 
conception of itself, and inseparable from every such con 
ception, as we have just proved; and this its being, its 
reality, which can only be immediately perceived, we have 
called its Life. Whence has it then this being, so com 
pletely independent of anything arising from its concep 
tion of itself, nay, rather preceding that conception, 
and first rendering it possible? We have said: It is 
the living- and efficient Ex-istence of the Absolute itself 


which alone has power to lie and to exist, and beside 
which nothing is, nor truly exists. Now, as the Absolute 
can be only through itself, so also can it exist only through 
itself; and as it, in its very self, and nothing else in its 
stead, must exist, since indeed nothing out of it has 
power either to be or to exist, so does it exist even as it is 
in itself, complete, undivided, without diminution, without 
variableness or change, as Absolute Unity, as it is in its 
own inward and essential nature. Thus the actual Life 
of Knowledge i, at bottom, the essential Being of the 
Absolute itself and nothing else ; and between the Abso 
lute or God, and Knowledge in its deepest roots, there is 
no separation or distinction, but both merge completely 
into one. 

And thus we have already attained a point from which 
our previous propositions become clearer, and light spreads 
over our future way. That any living Ex-istence should be 
wholly cut off from God, all living Ex-istence, as we have 
seen, being necessarily Life and Consciousness, and the dead 
and unconscious having no place in Ex-istence, that any 
living Ex-istence should be wholly cut off from God, is al 
ready guarded against, and is absolutely impossible ; for 
only through the Ex-istence of God in it is it maintained 
in Ex-istence, and were it possible that God should 
disappear from within it, then would it thereby itself 
disappear from Ex-istence. In the lower grades of spirit 
ual life, this Divine Ex-istence is seen only through 
obscure coverings, and amid confused phantasmagoria, 
derived from the organ of the spiritual sense through 
which man looks upon himself and upon Being ; but to 
gaze upon it bright and unveiled, as indeed the Divine 
Life and Ex-istence, and to bathe our whole being in this 
Life with full enjoyment and love, this is the True 
and unspeakably Blessed Life. 

It is ever, we said, the Ex-istence (Daseyii] of the 
Absolute and Divine Being (Seyn) that "is" (ex-ists) 


in all Life ; by which expression " all Life," we here 
mean the universal Life according to the law spoken 
of at the beginning of this lecture, which in this respect 
cannot be otherwise than as it is. In the lower grades 
of the spiritual life of man, however, that Divine Being 
(Seyn), as such, does not reveal itself to Consciousness ; 
but in the true central-point of spiritual life, that Divine 
Being, in its own express nature, does reveal itself to 
Consciousness ; as, for example, I assume that it has re 
vealed itself to us. Now, that it reveals itself as such 
to Consciousness, can mean nothing else than that it 
assumes the form which we have already seen to be the 
necessary form of Ex-istence and Consciousness, that, 
namely, of an image, representation, or conception, which 
gives itself out only as a conception, and not by any means 
as the thing itself. Immediately, in its true essential na 
ture, and without any image or representation, it is at all 
times present in the actual life of man, only unperceived ; 
and it continues there present as before, after it has been 
perceived ; only it is then, besides, recognised in an image 
or representation. This representative form is the essential 
nature of Thought; and in particular the Thought we are 
here considering bears, in its sufficiency for its own support 
and confirmation (which we call its internal evidence), the 
character of Absoluteness ; and thereby approves itself as 
pure, true, and absolute Thought. And thus it is made 
evident on all sides, that only in pure Thought can our 
union with God be recognised. 

We have already said, but must yet again expressly in 
culcate it upon you, and commend it to your earnest atten 
tion, that as Being (Seyn) is One and not Manifold, and as 
it is at once complete in itself, without variation or change, 
and thus an essential and absolute Unity, so also is Ex 
istence (Daseyn) or Consciousness since it only exists 
through Being, and is only the Ex-istence of Being, 
likewise an absolute, eternal, invariable, and unchanging 

x a 


Unity. So it is, with absolute necessity, in itself; 
and so it remains in pure Thought. There is nothing 
whatever in Ex-istence but immediate and living Thought: 
Thought, I say, but by no means a thinking substance, 
a dead body in which thought inheres, with which no- 
thought, indeed a ?io-thinker is full surely at hand : 
Thought, I say, and also the real Life of this Thought, 
which at bottom is the Divine Life ; both of which 
Thought and this its real Life are molten together 
into one inward organic Unity ; like as, outwardly, they 
are one simple, identical, eternal, unchangeable Unity. 
Nevertheless, opposed to this latter outward Unity, there 
arises in Thought the appearance of a Manifold, partly be 
cause there are many thinking subjects, and partly on ac 
count of the infinite series of objects upon which the 
thought of these subjects must eternally proceed. This 
appearance arises even to pure Thought and the Blessed 
Life in it, and Thought itself cannot forbid the presence 
of this appearance; but in no way does pure Thought 
believe in this appearance, nor love it, nor attempt to 
find enjoyment in it. On the other hand, the lower 
life, in all its inferior grades, believes in every appear 
ance of this Manifold and in the Manifold itself, runs 
forth in vagrant dissipation upon this Manifold and seeks 
in it for peace and enjoyment of itself, which neverthe 
less it will never find in that way. This remark may, 
in the first place, explain the picture which we drew in 
our first lecture of the True Life and the Apparent Life. 
To the outward eye, these two opposite modes of Life 
closely resemble each other; both proceed upon the same 
common objects, which are perceived by both in the 
same way; inwardly, however, they are very different. 
The True Life does not even believe in the reality of this 
Manifold and Changeable ; it believes only in its own 
unchangeable and eternal source in the Divine Unity ; - 
with all its thought, its love, its obedience, its self-enjoy- 


ment, for ever lost in and blended with that Unity : the 
Apparent Life, on the contrary, neither knows nor compre 
hends any Unity whatsoever, but even regards the Mani 
fold and Perishable as the true being, and is satisfied with 
it as such. In the second place, this remark imposes upon 
us the task of setting forth the true ground why that which, 
according to our doctrine, is in itself absolutely One, and 
remains One in True Life and Thought, does nevertheless 
in an appearance, which we must yet admit to be permanent 
and indestructible, become transmuted into a Manifold and 
Changeable; the true ground of this transmutation, I say, 
we must at least set forth, and distinctly announce to you, 
although the clear demonstration of it may be inaccessible 
to popular communication. The exposition of this ground 
of the Manifold and Changeable, with the farther appli 
cation of what we have said to-day, shall form the sub 
ject of our next discourse, to which I now respectfully 
invite you. 

( 349 ) 



LET us begin the business of to-day with a survey of our 
purpose in these discourses, as well as of what has now 
been accomplished for that purpose. 

My position is this: Man is not destined to misery, but 
he may be a partaker in peace, tranquillity, and Blessed 
ness, here below, everywhere, and for ever, if he but will to 
be so. This Blessedness, however, cannot be superadded 
to him by any outward power, nor by any miracle of an 
outward power ; he must lay hold of it for himself, and 
with his own hands. The source of all misery among men 
is their vagrancy in the Manifold and Changeable ; the 
sole and absolute condition of the Blessed Life is the ap 
prehension of the One Eternal Life with inward love and 
enjoyment ; although we indeed apprehend this Unity 
only in a picture or representation, and cannot in reality 
ourselves attain to or transform ourselves into it. 

The proposition which we have thus laid down, I would 
now, in the first place, bring home to your minds in clear 
insight, and thoroughly convince you of its truth. We here 


aim at instruction and enlightenment, which alone have en 
during value; not at a mere fugitive emotion or awakening 
of the fancy, which for the most part passes away without 
leaving a trace behind it. For the attainment of this clear 
insight, which we here strive to reach, the following steps 
are indispensably requisite: First, that we should conceive 
of Being (Seyri) as absolutely by and through itself alone, 
as One, invariable, and unchangeable. This conception of 
Being is by no means an exclusive possession of the schools; 
but every Christian who in his childhood has received a 
sound religious education has even then, in the Christian 
Doctrine of the Divine Nature, become acquainted with our 
conception of being. Secondly, another requisite for this in 
sight is the conception that we, the thinking beings, with 
respect to what we are in ourselves, are by no means this 
Absolute Being; but that we are nevertheless, in the inner 
most root of our existence, inseparably connected with it, 
since otherwise we should have no power to exist at all. 
Now, this latter conception may be more or less clear, 
particularly in regard to the mode of our relation to 
the Godhead. This conception we have set forth in the 
greatest clearness with which, in our opinion, it can be 
invested in a popular discourse, thus : Besides God, 
there is truly and in the proper sense of the word no 
other Ex-istence whatever but Knowledge : and this 
Knowledge is the Divine Ex-istence (Daseyn) itself, ab 
solutely and immediately ; and, in so far as we are this 
Knowledge, we are ourselves, in the deepest root of our 
being, the Divine Ex-istence. All other things that 
appear to us as Ex-istences outward objects, bodies, 
souls, we ourselves in so far as we ascribe to ourselves a 
separate and independent Being do not truly and in 
themselves exist; but they exist only in Consciousness and 
Thought, as that of which we are conscious, or of which we 
think, and in no other way whatever. This, I say, is the 
clearest expression by which, in my opinion, this conception 


can be popularly communicated to men. But should any 
one be unable to understand even this expression, yea,, 
should he even be unable to apprehend or conceive anything 
whatever regarding the mode of this relation, yet would he 
not thereby be excluded from the Blessed Life, nor even 
hindered in any way from entering upon it. On the other 
hand, according to my absolute conviction, the following 
are indispensable requisites to the attainment of the 
Blessed Life :(!.) That we should have fixed principles 
and convictions respecting God arid our relation to him, 
which do not merely float in our memory, without our par 
taking of them, as something we have learned from others; 
but which are really true to us, living and active in our 
selves. For even in this does Religion consist : and he 
who does not possess such principles, in such a way, has no 
Religion, and therefore no Being, nor Ex-istence. nor true 
Self at all; but he passes away, like a shadow, amid the 
Manifold and Perishable. (2.) Another requisite to the 
Blessed Life is that this living Religion within us should 
at least go so far as to convince us entirely of our own 
Nothingness in ourselves, and of our Being only in God 
and through God ; that we should at least /ee^ this rela 
tionship continually and without interruption ; and that, 
even although it should not be distinctly expressed either 
in thought or language, ifc should yet be the secret spring, 
the hidden principle, of all our thoughts, feelings, emo 
tions, and aspirations. That these things are indispen 
sable requisites to a Blessed Life, is, I say, my absolute 
conviction ; and this conviction is here set forth for the 
benefit of those who already assume the possibility of a 
Blessed Life, who stand in need of it, or of confirmation 
in it, and who therefore desire to receive guidance in 
the way towards it. Notwithstanding this, we can not 
only frankly admit that a man may make shift without 
Religion, without True Ex-istence, without inward peace 
and Blessedness, and assure himself of coming off well 


enough without these, as indeed may be true ; but we 
are also ready freely to concede to such a man all possi 
ble honour and merit which, without Religion, he may 
be able to acquire. We embrace this opportunity, frankly 
to confess that, neither in the speculative nor in the 
popular form of our doctrine, can we constrain any man, 
or force our convictions upon him ; nor would we wish to 
do so even if we could. 

The definitive result of our former lecture, which we in 
tend to follow out to-day, was this : God not only is, in 
himself and contained within himself, but he also ex-ists, 
and manifests himself; and this his immediate Ex-istence 
(Dascyn) is necessarily Knowledge : this latter necessity 
being seen and apprehended in Knowledge itself. In this 
his Existence (Daseyii) he ex-ists, as is also necessary and 
may in like manner be seen to be necessary, he ex-ists, I 
say, as he is absolutely in himself, in his own Being (Seyri), 
without changing in aught by his passage from Being (Seyri) 
to Ex-istence (Daseyn), without any intervening division 
or other separation between these two states. God is in 
himself One and not Many ; ho is in himself identical, 
the same, without change or variation ; he ex-ists precisely 
as he is in himself, and therefore he necessarily ex-ists as 
One, without change or variation ; and as Knowledge, or 
we ourselves, are this Divine Ex-istence, so also in us, in so 
far as we are this Divine Ex-isteuce, there can be no varia 
tion or change, neither multiplicity nor variety, neither 
i division, difference, nor opposition. So must it be, and 
otherwise it cannot be : therefore it is so. 

But in Eeality we nevertheless find this multiplicity and 
variety, these divisions, differences, and oppositions of Being, 
and in Being, which in Thought are clearly seen to be ab 
solutely impossible; and hence arises the task of reconciling 
this contradiction between our perceptions of Reality and 
pure Thought; of showing how these opposing judgments 
may consist with each other, and so both prove true; and, 


in particular, of solving this problem by making it clearly 
evident whence, and from what principles, this Multiplicity 
arises in the simple Unity of Being. 

In the first place, and before everything else, let us ask : 
Who is it that raises the question as to the source of the 
Manifold, and seeks such an insight into this source as may 
enable him to see the Manifold in its first outgoings, and 
thus obtain a knowledge of the mode of the transition ? It 
is not firm and unwavering Faith. Faith briefly disposes 
of the matter thus : " There is absolutely but the One, 
Unchangeable and Eternal, and nothing besides Him ; 
hence all that is fleeting and changeable full surely is 
not, and its seeming appearance is but an empty show; 
this I know, whether I can explain this appearance or 
not; my assurance is neither strengthened in the one 
case, nor weakened in the other." This Faith reposes 
immovably in the fact of its insight, without feeling the 
want of the mode; it is content with the "That" with 
out asking for the " How." Thus, for example, in the 
Gospel of John, Christianity does not answer this ques 
tion at all ; it does not even once touch it, or only wonders 
at the presence of the Perishable, having this firm Faith 
and assurance that only the One is, and that the Perish 
able is not. And thus any one amongst us who is a 
partaker in this Faith does not raise the question ; 
hence he does not need our answer to it, and it may even 
be a matter of indifference to him, as regards the Blessed 
Life, whether he comprehend our answer to it or not. 

But this question is raised by those who have hitherto 
either believed only in the Manifold and have never risen 
even to a presentiment of the One, or else have wandered 
to and fro between both views, uncertain in which of the 
two they should establish themselves and which reject al 
together; and these can only by means of an answer to this 
question attain the insight which is necessary to the de 
velopment of the Blessed Life. For such I must answer 

y a 


the question, and for them it is necessary that they should 
comprehend my answer. 

Thus then stands the matter : In so far as the Divine 
Ex-istence (Daseyii} is immediately its own living, and 
efficient Ex-isting (^aseyeH), ex-isting, I say, indicating 
thereby an act of Ex-istence, it is wholly like to the in 
ward essential Being (Seyri), and is therefore an invariable, 
unchanging Unity, altogether incapable of Multiplicity. 

Hence the principle of opposition cannot (I have here, 

be it remembered, a double purpose : partly to present to 
some of you, for the first time and in a popular way, the 
Knowledge in question; partly, for others among you who 
have already acquired this Knowledge in the scientific way, 
to combine into one single beam and centre of light that 
which they have formerly seen in separate individual rays; 
and I therefore now express myself with the strictest pre 
cision), the principle of opposition, I say, cannot fall im 
mediately within this act of the Divine Ex-istence, but must 
lie beyond it; but this, however, in such wise that the out 
ward opposition shall be evident as immediately connected 
with the living act and necessarily flowing from it ; not by 
any means as establishing an interval between God and 
us, and so irrevocably excluding us from him. I conduct 
you to an insight into this principle of Multiplicity thus: 
1. Whatever the Absolute Being (Seyn) or God is, that 
he is wholly and immediately by and through himself; 
among other things, he ex-ists, manifests and reveals him 
self ; thus he is also this Ex-istence (Daseyn}, and here 
is the important point, thus he is also this Ex-istence 
by and through himself, and only in his immediate and 
self-subsistent Being, that is, in immediate Life and 
reality. In this his act of Ex-istence he is present 
with his whole power of ex-isting ; and only in this, his 
efficient and living act, does his immediate Ex-istence 
consist: and in this respect it is complete, one and 


2. Being (%) and Ex-istence (Daseyn) are here wholly 
blended together and lost in each other ; for to his Beinc, 
by and through himself, his Ex-istence belongs, and can 
have no other foundation or source whatever; while on the 
other hand, to his Ex-istence belongs everything that ap 
pertains to his inward and essential Being or Nature The 
whole distinction, set forth in our former lecture, between 
Being (Seyn) and Ex-istence (Daseyn), and their indepen 
dence of each other, is thus seen to be only for us and 
only a result of our limitation ; and by no means to have 
any place, immediately and of itself, in the Divine Ex 

3. I said further, in the preceding lecture, that in and to 
mere Ex-istence itself, Being (Seyn) cannot be blended with 
Ex-istence (Daseyn), but that they must be distinguished 
from each other; so that Being maybe apprehended as 
Being, and the Absolute as Absolute. This distinction 
this "as," this characterization of the elements to be 
distinguished, is in itself an absolute division, and the 
principle of all subsequent division and multiplicity, as 
may be shortly made evident to you in the following 
way : 

(a.) In the first place, the " as" or characterization 
of the two elements, does not immediately give 
their Being (Seyn) ; i t g i ves on ] v whaf th( T }r ^ 
i.e. their description and character ; it gives them 
in representation, and indeed gives a mixed picture 
or representation of both, in which they reciprocally 
interpenetrate and determine each other, since the 
one can be apprehended and characterized only by 
means of the other, as not being that which the 
other is; the other again being distinguished as 
not being that which the former is. In this dis 
tinction we have the genesis of Knowledge and 
Consciousness; or, what is the same thing, represen 
tation, description, and characterization, mediate 


perception and recognition by means of character 
and sign ; and in this distinction lies the peculiar 
and fundamental principle of Knowledge. It is 
purely a relation : a relation of two things, how 
ever, does not lie wholly in either the one or the 
other, but between the two; it is a third element, 
as is shown in the peculiar nature of Knowledge as 
something wholly distinct from Being. 

(/>.) This distinction occurs in Ex-istence (D(tseyn) 
itself and proceeds from it; and as the distinction does 
not embrace its object immediately, but only the form 
and character of the object, so Ex-istence does not ap 
prehend itself immediately in this distinction, that is, 
in Consciousness, but only a picture or representa 
tion of itself. It does not conceive of itself imme 
diately as it is ; but it conceives of itself only within 
the limitations which are set to conception by the 
absolute nature of conception itself. Popularly ex 
pressed, this is the following : We conceive of our 
selves only in part, and that not as we really are 
in ourselves; and the cause that we do not conceive 
of the Absolute does not lie in the Absolute itself, 
but in the conception which cannot even conceive 
of itself. Were it able to conceive of itself, then 
would it be able to conceive of the Absolute, for in 
its own Being, beyond the limitations of conception, 
it is itself the Absolute. 

(c.) Thus it is in Consciousness, as a distinction, 
that the primitive essence of the Divine Being and 
Ex-istence suffers a change. What then is the one 
absolute and invariable character of this change ? 

Consider the following : Knowledge, as a distinc 
tion, is a characterization of the thing distinguished; 
every characterization, however, is in itself an assump 
tion of the fixed and abiding Being and Presence of 
that which is characterized. Thus, by the act of con- 


ception, that which in itself is the immediate living 
Divine Life, and which we have previously so de 
scribed, becomes a present and abiding substance : 

the schools would add, an objective substance, but this 
arises from the other and not the reverse. Thus, it is 
the living Divine Life that is changed ; and a present 
and abiding substance is the form which it assumes in 
that change; in other words, the change of immedi 
ate Life into a present and abiding substance is the 
fundamental character of that change which is im 
posed upon Ex-istence by Consciousness. This abiding 
Presence is the characteristic of that which we call the 
World; hence Consciousness is the true World-creator, (/ 
by means of the change of the Divine Life into a 
present substance which is involved in the essential 
character of conception ; and only to consciousness 
and in consciousness is there a World, as the neces 
sary form of Life in Consciousness ; but beyond 
conception, that is, truly and in itself, there is 
nothing, and in all Eternity there can be nothing, 
but the Living God in his own fulness of Life. 

(<L) The World is thus manifest, in its fundamen 
tal character, as proceeding from consciousness ; and 
this consciousness again is nothing but the " as," 
the characterization of the Divine Being and Ex 
istence. But does not this World in conception, 
and the conception of it, assume again a new form ? 
I mean necessarily so, and with a necessity that 
may be made manifest ? 

In order to answer this question, consider with 
me the following : Ex-istence (Daseyn) apprehends 
itself, as I said above, only in representation, and 
with a character distinguishing it from Being (Seyn). 
This it does solely of and through itself and by its 
own power; and this power of self- observation is 
manifest in all concentration, attention, and direc- 


tion of thought to a particular object ; in the lan 
guage of science this independent self-apprehension 
of consciousness is named reflexion, and thus we 
shall in future name it. This direction of the power 
of Ex-istence and Consciousness arises from the 
necessity for an " as," a characterization of Ex 
istence ; and this necessity rests immediately on 
God s living act of Ex-istence. The foundation of 
the independence and freedom of Consciousness is in 
deed in God; but even on that account, because it is in 
God, do that independence and freedom truly exist, 
and are not an empty show. Through his own Ex 
istence, and by its essential nature, God throws out 
from himself a part of his Ex-istence, that is, such 
part of it as becomes self-consciousness, and estab 
lishes it in true independence and freedom : which 
point, as that which solves the latest and deepest 
error of speculation, I would not here pass over. 

Ex-istence apprehends itself by its own indepen 
dent power: this was the first thing to which I wished 
to draw your attention here. What then arises in this 
apprehension ? This is the second thing to which I 
now desire to direct your thoughts. As soon as it 
distinctly looks upon itself, in its own present exist 
ence, there arises immediately, in thus turning its at 
tention forcibly upon itself, the perception that it is 
this or that, that it bears this or that character; and 
thus here is the general expression of the result 
which I entreat you to notice thus, in reflexion upon 
itself, does Knowledge, by itself and in virtue of its 
own nature, give birth to a division in itself; since in 
this act there is apparent to Knowledge, not only 
Knowledge itself, which would be one, but, at the 
same time, Knowledge as this or that, with this or 
that character or attribute, which adds a second ele 
ment to the first, and that one arising from the first ; 


so that the very foundation of reflexion is thus 
divided into two separate parts. This is the essen- ) 
tial and fundamental law of reflexion. 

(e.) Now the first and immediate object of absolute 
reflexion is Ex-istence itself; which, according to the 
necessary form of Knowledge, as before explained, has 
been changed from a living Life into an abiding sub 
stance or World : thus the first object of absolute 
reflexion is the World. By reason of the essential 
form of reflexion which we have just set forth, this 
World must separate and divide itself in reflexion; so 
that the World, or the abiding Ex-istence in the 
abstract, may assumo a definite character, and the ab 
stract World reproduce itself in reflexion under a par 
ticular shape. This, as we said, lies in reflexion it 
self as such; reflexion, however, as we have also said, 
is in itself absolutely free and independent. Hence/ 7 
were this reflexion inactive, were there nothing re 
flected, as in consequence of this freedom might be 
the case, then there would be nothing apparent; but 
were reflexion infinitely active, were there an endless 
series of its acts, reflexion upon reflexion, as 
through this freedom might as well be the case, 
then to every new reflexion the World would appear 
in a new shape, and thus proceed throughout an 
Infinite Time, (which is likewise created only by the 
absolute freedom of reflexion,) in an endless course 
of change and transmutation, as an Infinite Mani 
fold. As Consciousness in the abstract was seen to 1 
be the World-creator ; so here, the free act of reflexion 
is seen to be the creator of Multiplicity, and indeed 
of an infinite Multiplicity, in the World ; while the 
World, nevertheless, notwithstanding this Multipli 
city, remains the same, because the abstract con 
ception in its fundamental character remains One 
and the same. 


(f.) And now to combine what we have said into 
one view ; Consciousness, that is we ourselves, is 
the Divine Ex-istence (Daseyri) itself, and absolutely 
one with it. This Divine Ex-istence apprehends it 
self and thereby becomes Consciousness; and its own 
Being (Seyn) the true Divine Being becomes a 
World to it. In this position what does this Con 
sciousness contain? I think each of you will answer: 
" The World and nothing but the World." Or does 
this Consciousness also contain the immediate Divine 
Life ? I think each of you will answer : " No ; " for 
Consciousness must necessarily change this immediate 
Divine Life into a World ; and thus, Consciousness 
being supposed, this change is also supposed as 
accomplished ; and Consciousness itself is, by its very 
nature, and therefore without being again conscious 
of it, the direct completion of this change. But 
now, where is that immediate Divine Life which, 
in its immediateness, is itself Consciousness; where 
has it vanished, since, according to our own admis 
sions, rendered clearly necessary by our previous 
conclusions, in this its immediateness it is irrevoc 
ably effaced from Consciousness ? We reply : It has 
not vanished, but it is and abides there, where alone 
it can be, in the hidden and inaccessible Being (Seyn) 
of Consciousness, which no conception can reach ; 
in that which alone supports Consciousness, main 
tains it in Ex-istence, and even makes its Ex-istence 
N possible. In Consciousness the Divine Life is inevit- 
-J ably changed into an actual and abiding World : 
further, every actual Consciousness is an act of re 
flexion ; the act of reflexion, however, inevitably di 
vides the One World into an infinite variety of shapes, 
the comprehension of which can never be completed, 
and of which therefore only a finite series enters into 
Consciousness. I ask : Where then abides the One 


World, in itself perfect and complete, .the counter 
part and representative of the likewise perfect and 
complete Divine Life ? I answer : It abides there 
where alone it is,-not in any individual act of 
reflexion, but in the one, absolute, fundamental 
form of conception ; which thou canst never repro 
duce in actual, immediate Consciousness, but only in 
Thought raising itself above Consciousness ; just as 
thou canst likewise reproduce in the same Thought 
the still farther removed and more deeply hidden 
Divine Life. Where then,-in this stream of actual 
reflexion, and its world-creation, flowing on for ever 
through ceaseless changes, where then abides the 
One, Eternal and Unchangeable Being (Seyn} of 
Consciousness which is manifested in the Divine 
Ex-istence (Daseyn] ? It does not enter into this 
stream of change, but only its type, image, or re 
presentation, enters therein. 

As thy physical eye is a prism in which the light 
of the sensuous world, which in itself is pure, simple 
and colourless, breaks itself upon the surfaces of 
things into many hues, while nevertheless thou wilt 
not maintain on that account that the light is in it 
self coloured, but only that, to thine eye, and while 
standing with thine eye in this state of reciprocal in 
fluence, it separates itself into colours, although 
thou still canst not see the light colourless, but canst 
only think it colourless; to which thought alone thou 
givest credence when the nature of thy seeing eye 
becomes known to thee : so also proceed in the 
things of the spiritual world and with the vision of 
thy spiritual eye. What thou seest, that thou art : 
but thou art it not as thou seest it, nor dost thou see 
it as thou art it. Thou art itj unchangeable and pure, 
without colour and without shape. Only reflexion, 
which likewise thou thyself art, and which therefore 

z a 


thou canst never put away from tliee, only this causes 
it to separate before thee into innumerable rays and 
shapes. Know therefore that it is not in itself thus 
broken up, and formed, and invested with a multi 
plicity of shapes, but that it only seems so in this thy 
reflexion, thy spiritual eye, by which alone thou canst 
see, and in reciprocal influence with this reflexion. 
Raise thyself above this Appearance, which in Re 
ality can as little be obliterated as the colours from 
before thy physical eye, raise thyself above this 
Appearance to true Thought, let thyself be pene 
trated by it, and thou wilt henceforward have faith 
in it alone. 

So much as has now been said may, in my opinion, be 
contributed through the medium of a popular discourse 
to the solution of the question: Whence, since Being in 
itself must be absolutely One, without change or variation, 
and is evident to Thought as such, whence arises the 
mutability and change which is nevertheless encountered 
by actual Consciousness? Being, in itself, is indeed One, 
the One Divine Being; and this alone is the true Re 
ality in all Ex-istence, and so remains in all Eternity. 
By reflexion, which in actual Consciousness is indisso- 
lubly united with Being, this One Being is broken up 
into an infinite variety of forms. This separation, as 
we said, is absolutely original, and in actual Conscious 
ness can never be abolished nor superseded by anything 
else ; and therefore the special forms which by this 
separation are imposed upon absolute Reality, can sub 
sist and become manifest only in actual Consciousness, 
and only by close observation of Consciousness ; and 
they are by no means discoverable a priori to pure 
Thought. They are simple and absolute Experience, 
which is nothing but Experience; which no Speculation 
that understands itself will ever attempt or desire to 
set aside ; and in each particular thing the substance 


of this Experience is that which absolutely belongs 
to ^it alone and is its individual characteristic, that 
which in the whole infinite course of Time can never 
be repeated, and which can never before have occurred. 
But the general properties or attributes of these forms 
which are thus imposed upon the One Reality by its 
separation in Consciousness, with reference to which 
attributes corresponding classes and species arise, these 
may be discovered by a priori investigation of the dif 
ferent laws of reflexion, as we have already set forth 
its one fundamental law ; and a systematic philosophy 
ought to do this, and must do it, in a complete and 
exhaustive manner. Thus may Matter in Space, Time, 
-a fixed system of Worlds, how the substance of 
Consciousness, which in itself can be but One, divides 
itself into a system of separate and apparently indepen 
dent individuals, thus, I say, may these and all things 
of this kind, be deduced with perfect clearness from the 
laws of reflexion. But these investigations are more 
needful to the attainment of a fundamental insight into 
particular Sciences than to the development of a Blessed 
Life. They belong to the scientific teaching of Philoso 
phy as its exclusive property ; and they are neither sus 
ceptible of popular exposition nor do they stand in need 
of it. Here, therefore, at this indicated point, lies the 
boundary line which divides strict Science from popular 
teaching. We have, as you see, arrived at that limit; 
and it may therefore be anticipated that our inquiry 
shall now gradually descend to those regions which, at 
least with respect to their objects, are familiar to us, and 
which we have even sometimes touched upon already. 

Besides the division, which we have set forth in to-day s 
lecture, of the World which arises in Consciousness from 
out the Divine Life, into a World of infinite variety and 
change with reference to its form, by means of the fun 
damental law of reflexion : there is vet another division, 


inseparably bound up with the first, of the same World, not 
into an Infinite but into a Five-fold form, with reference to 
the possible modes of viewing it. We must set forth this 
second division, at least historically, and make you ac 
quainted with it, which shall be done in our next lecture. 
It is only after these preparatory investigations that we 
shall be capable of comprehending for the first time the 
essential nature, as well as the outward manifestations, 
of the truly Blessed Life ; arid, after we have so compre 
hended it, of seeing clearly that there is indeed true 
Blessedness within it, and what that Blessedness is. 

( 365 ) 



ACCORDING to what we have now seen, Blessedness con- 
sists in union with God, as the One and Absolute. We, 
however, in our unalterable nature, are but Knowledge, 
Representation, Conception ; and even in our union with 
the Infinite One, this, the essential form of our Being, 
cannot disappear. Even in our union with him he 
does not become our own Being ; but he floats before us 
as something foreign to, and outside of, ourselves, to 
which we can only devote ourselves, clinging to him with 
earnest love ; He floats before us, as in himself without 
form or substance, without, on our part, a definite concep 
tion or knowledge of his inward essential nature, but yet 
as that through which alone we can think or comprehend 
either ourselves or our World. Neither after our union, 
with God is the World lost to us ; it only assumes a new 
significance, and, instead of an independent existence 
such as it seemed to us before, it becomes only the ap 
pearance and manifestation, in Knowledge, of the Divine 
Life that lies hidden within itself. Comprehend this 
once more as a whole : The Divine Ex-istence (Daseyn), 


Ins Ex-istence, I say, which, according to the distinction 
already laid down, is his Manifestation and Revelation 
of himself, is absolutely through itself, and of necessity, 
LIGHT : namely, inward and spiritual Light. This Light, 
left to itself, separates and divides itself into an infinite 
multiplicity of individual rays; and in this way, in these 
individual rays, becomes estranged from itself and its 
original source. But this same Light may also again 
concentrate itself from out this separation, and conceive 
and comprehend itself as One, as that which it is in it 
self, the Ex-istence and Revelation of God ; remaining 
indeed, even in this conception, that which it is in its 
form, Light ; but yet in this conception, and even by 
means of this very conception, announcing itself as hav 
ing no real Being in itself, but as only the Ex-istence and 
Self-Manifestation of God. 

In our last two lectures, and more especially in the last 
of all, we made it our especial business to investigate this 
passage of the One, only possible, and unchangeable Being 
into another, and that other a manifold and changeable 
Being : so that we might be enabled to penetrate to the 
very transition-point of this change, and see its outgoing 
/with our own eyes. We found the following : In the first 
place, through the essential character of Knowledge, as a 
mere picture or representation, Being, which subsists in 
dependently of that Knowledge, and which in itself and 
in God is pure activity and Life, is changed into a de 
terminate and abiding being, or into a World. In the 
second place, besides this distinction, the World which, to 
mere abstract Knowledge, is simple and indivisible, is, by 
the fundamental law of reflexion, which is inseparable 
from all actual Knowledge, further characterized, formed, 
and moulded into a particular World, and indeed into an 
infinitely varied World, flowing onward in a never-ending 
\strearn of new and changing forms. The insight thus 
to be attained was, in our opinion, indispensably neces- 


sary not only to Philosophy but also to Blessedness ; at 
least where the latter dwells in man, not as a mere in 
stinct or obscure faith, but desires to be able to render an 
account to itself of its own origin and foundation. 

Thus far we had proceeded in our last lecture ; and we 
intimated at its conclusion, that with this division of the 
World into an infinite multiplicity of forms, founded on a 
fundamental law of all reflexion, there was inseparably con 
nected another division which we should, at this time, if 
not critically educe, at least historically set forth and de 
scribe. I do not here approach this new and second division, 
in its general character, more deeply than thus. In the 
first place, in its essential nature, it is different from the 
division which we set forth in our last lecture and have 
now again described, in so far as the latter immediately 
separates and divides the World itself which, in virtue of 
the essential form of Knowledge, arises from out the 
Divine Life ; while, on the contrary, that which we have 
now to consider does not immediately separate and divide 
the object itself, but only separates and divides reflexion 
on the object. The one is a separation and division in the 
object itself; the other is but a separation and division in 
the view taken of the object, not, as in the former case, re 
vealing to us objects different in themselves, but only dif 
ferent modes of viewing, apprehending, and understanding 
the one abiding World. In the second place, it is not to 
be forgotten that neither of these two divisions can assume 
the place of the other, and that therefore they cannot sup 
plant or supersede each other; but that they are insepar 
able, and are therefore to be found together wherever re 
flexion, whose unchangeable forms they are, is to be found ; 
and that therefore the results of both inseparably ac 
company each other and always proceed hand in hand. 
The result of the first division is, as we have shown in our 
previous lecture, Infinitude; the result of the second is, 
as we also stated, a Quintitude; and therefore the result 


of the inseparability of these two divisions is this, that 
this Infinity, which in itself remains entire and cannot 
be thrown off, may yet be regarded in a Five-fold man 
ner ; and on the other hand, that each of the five possible 
views so taken of the World again divides the One World 
into an Infinite multiplicity of forms. And thus you 
may comprehend what we have now said in a single 
glance : To the spiritual vision, that which in itself is 
the Divine Life becomes a thing seen, that is, a complete 
and present Ex-istence, or a World : which was the first 
point. This vision is always an act, named reflexion; 
and by means of this act, partly as relating to its object, 
the World, and partly as relating to itself, that World is 
divided into an infinite Quintentity, or, what is the same 
thing, into a five-fold Infinity : which was the second 
point. In order that we may, in the next place, proceed 
to the consideration of the second of these divisions, 
which is the proper object of to-day s lecture, let us now 
make, with regard to it, the following general remarks : 
This division, as we have said, presents no distinction in 
the object itself, but only a distinction, difference, and va 
riety, in the view taken of the object. It seems to force 
itself upon the mind that this difference, not in the object 
itself but only in the view taken of the object the object 
itself meanwhile remaining the same can arise only from 
the obscurity or clearness, the depth or shallowness, the 
completeness or incompleteness of the view thus taken of 
the one unchanging World. And this is certainly the case: 
or, to connect this with something that I said before, il 
lustrating the one expression by the other, and thus render 
ing both more intelligible, the five modes of viewing the 
World, now spoken of, are the same as those progressions 
which, in the third lecture, I named the various possible 
stages and grades of development of the inward Spiritual 
Life, when I said that the progress of this free and con 
scious Spiritual Life, which in a peculiar sense belongs to 

LECTURE V. 3(59 

us, follows the same course as the progress of Physical 
Death, and that the former as well as the latter begins in 
the remotest members, and thence only gradually advances 
to the central-point of the system. What I named the 
outworks of the Spiritual Life, in the figure which I then 
employed, are, in our present representation of the matter, 
the lowest, darkest, and shallowest of the five possible 
modes of viewing the World ; what I then named the 
nobler parts, and the heart, are here the higher and clearer, 
and the highest and clearest, of these modes. 

But notwithstanding that, according to our former simile 
as well as our present representation, it is only after he 
has rested for a time in a low view of the World and its 
significance, that Man, in the ordinary course of life and 
according to general law, raises himself to a higher ; yet, 
in the first place, it is not on that account to be denied, 
but on the contrary to be expressly held and maintained, 
that this manifold view of the World is a true and original 
distinction, at least in the capacities possessed by men of 
comprehending the World. Understand me thus : those 
higher views of the World have not their origin in Time, 
nor so that they are first engendered and made possible 
by views wholly opposed to them ; but they subsist from 
all Eternity in the unity of the Divine Existence, as ne- j 
cessary determinations of the One Consciousness, even 1 
although no man should comprehend them ; and no one 
who does comprehend them can invent them, or produce 
them by mere thought, but he can only perceive them, and 
appropriate them to himself. In the second place, this 
gradual progress is only the ordinary course of things, and 
only the general law, which however is by no means 
without exception. Some favoured and inspired men find 
themselves, as it were by miracle, without their own know 
ledge and through mere birth and instinct, placed at once 
on a higher standpoint from which to survey the World ; 
and these are as little understood by those around them, 



as they, on their part, are able to understand their con 
temporaries. Thus it has been, since the beginning of 
the world, with all Religious Men, Sages, Heroes, and 
Poets ; and thus has everything great and good in the 
world arisen. On the other hand, there are individuals, 
and, where the contagion has become very dangerous, 
whole ages with few exceptions, that by the same inex 
plicable instinct of nature are so imprisoned and rooted 
in the lowest view of things, that even the clearest and 
most evident instruction cannot induce them to raise 
their eves even for a moment from the earth, and to 
apprehend anything whatever but that which they can 
directly lay hold of with their hands. 

So much in general as to the distinction we have in 
dicated in the modes of viewing the World ; and now to 
set forth the separate modes of this distinction. 

The First, lowest, shallowest, and most confused mode 
of viewing the World, is that wherein that only is re 
garded as the World, and actual existence therein, which 
is perceptible to outward SENSE ; as the highest, true, 
and self-sufficient existence. This view has been al 
ready sufficiently depicted in these lectures, particularly 
in the third, and, as it seems to me, clearly enough 
characterized ; and on that occasion its worthlessness and 
superficiality were made abundantly evident, although 
only by a glance at its surface. We admitted that this 
view was nevertheless that of our philosophers, and of 
the age that is formed in their schools ; but we showed 
at the same time that this view by no means proceeds 
from their logic since the very nature and possibility 
of logic directly gives the lie to such a view but from 
their love. We cannot pause any longer at this point, for 
in these lectures we must proceed far beyond this, and 
therefore we must leave some things behind us as for ever 
abolished. Should any one, persisting in the testimony of 
his senses, continue to say : " But these things are obvi- 


ously there, really and truly, for I see them there, and hear 
them," then let such an one know that we are not even 
disturbed by his confident assurance and inflexible faith ; 
but that we abide by our categorical, invincible, and abso 
lutely literal : " No, these things are not, precisely be 
cause they may be seen and heard," and that we can 
have nothing more to say to such a person, as one wholly 
incapable of understanding or instruction. 

The Second view, proceeding from the original division 
in the modes of viewing the World, is that wherein the 
World is regarded as a LAW OF ORDER and of equal 
rights in a system of reasonable beings. Let this be 
understood exactly as I have said it. A Law, and indeed 
an ordering and equalizing Law addressed to the freedom 
of many, is to this view the peculiar, self-subsistent 
Eeality ; that by which the World arose, and in which 
it has its root. Should any one here wonder how a 
Law, which indeed, as such an one would say, is only a 
relation a mere abstract conception, can be regarded 
as an independent existence, the wonder of such an one 
can proceed only from his inability to comprehend any 
thing as real except visible and palpable matter; and 
thus he also belongs to that class to whom we have 
nothing to say. A Law, I say, is to this view of the 
World the first thing; that which alone truly is, and 
through which everything else that exists first comes into 
existence. Freedom and a Human Race is to it the second 
thing ; which exists only because a Law that is addressed 
to freedom necessarily assumes the existence of freedom 
and of free beings; and in this system the only foun 
dation and proof of the independence of man is the Moral 
Law that reveals itself within him. A Sensible World, fi 
nally, is to it the third thing; and this is only the sphere 
of the free action of man, and only exists because free ac 
tion necessarily assumes the existence of objects of such 
action. As to the sciences that arise out of this view, it 


may lay claim not only to Jurisprudence, as setting forth 
the legal relations of men, but also to the common doctrine 
of Morals, which merely goes the length of forbidding in 
justice between man and man, and merely rejects whatever 
is opposed to Duty whether forbidden by an express law of 
the State or not. Examples of this view of the World can 
not be adduced from common life, which, rooted in matter, 
does not raise itself even thus far ; but, in philosophical 
literature, Kant is the most striking and consequential ex 
ample of this view, if we do not follow his philosophical 
career farther than the Critique of Practical Eeason; the 
peculiar character of this mode of thought, as we have 
expressed it above, namely, that the reality and indepen 
dence of man are evidenced only by the Moral Law that 
rules within him, and that only thereby does he become 
anything in himself, being expressed by Kant in the same 
words. We ourselves, too, have pointed out and investi 
gated this view of the world, never indeed as the highest, 
but as the foundation of a Doctrine of Jurisprudence and a 
Doctrine of Morals in our treatment of these subjects; and 
have there, as we are conscious, set it forth not without 
energy : and there can therefore be no lack of examples, 
in our own age, of this second view of the World, for those 
who take a closer interest in what has now been said. For 
the rest, the purely moral inward sentiment that man 
ought to act only in obedience to, and for the sake of, the 
Law which also enters into the sphere of this Lower 
Morality, and the inculcation of which has not been for 
gotten either by Kant or by us, does not belong to our 
present subject, where we have to do only with objective 

One general remark, which is of importance for all our 
subsequent points of view, as well as for this, I shall 
adduce here as the place where it may be made with 
the greatest distinctness. This, namely : In order to 
have a firm standpoint for any view of the World, it is 


necessary that we should place the real and independent 
being arid root of the World in one definite and un 
changeable principle, from which we may be able to educe 
the others as only partaking in the reality of the first, 
and only assumed by reason of it; just as we have already, 
when speaking of the second view of the World, educed the 
Human Race as a second element, and the Sensible World 
as a third, from the law of Moral Order as the first. But it 
is by no means allowable to mix and intermingle realities; 
and, it may be, to assign to the Sensible World whatever 
is supposed to belong to it, at the same time not denying 
to the Moral World any of its rights ; as is sometimes at 
tempted by those who, having got quite confused, would 
get rid of these questions altogether. Such persons have 
no settled view whatever, and no fixed direction of their 
spiritual eye, but they continually turn aside amid the 
Manifold. Far better tban they, is he who holds firmly 
by the World of Sense, and denies the reality of every- 
thing else but it ; for although he may be as short-sighted 
as the others, yet he is not at the same time so timid 
and spiritless. In a word : a higher view of the World 
does not tolerate the lower beside it; but each higher 
step abolishes the lower as an absolute and highest stand 
point, and subordinates it to itself. 

The Third view of the World is that from the stand- 1 
point of the True and HIGHER MORALITY. It is necessary 
that we should render a very distinct account of this stand 
point, which is almost wholly unknown to the present 
age. To it also, as well as to the second of the views we 
have now described, a Law of the Spiritual World is the 
first, highest, and absolute reality ; and herein these two 
views coincide. But the Law of the third view is not, like 
that of the second, merely a Law of Order, regulating pre 
sent existence; but rather a Creative Law, producing the 
new and hitherto non-existent, even within the circle of that 
which already exists. The former is merely negative, 


abolishing the opposition between diverse free powers, and 
establishing equilibrium and peace in its stead; the latter 
desires to inform the powers, thus lulled to rest, with a 
new life. We may say that it strives, not like the former 
after the mere form of the Idea but after the qualitative 
and real Idea itself. Its object may be briefly stated 
thus : it seeks, in those whom it inspires, and through 
them in others, to make Humanity in deed, what it is 
in its original intention, the express image, copy, and 
revelation of the inward and essential Divine Nature. 
The process of deduction, by which this third view of 
the World arrives at reality, is therefore the following : 
To it, the only truly real and independent being is the 
Holy, the Good, the Beautiful ; the second is Humanity, 
as destined to be the manifestation of the first; the 
ordering Law in Humanity, as the third, is but the means 
of bringing it into internal and external peace for the 
fulfilment of this its true vocation ; and finally, the World 
I of Sense, as the fourth, is only the sphere both of the 
outward and inward, the lower and higher, Freedom and 
Morality ; only the sphere of Freedom, I say, that 
which it is to all the higher points of view, and thus re 
mains, and can never assume to itself any other reality. 

Examples of this view in human history can be seen only 
by him who has an eye to discover them. Through the 
Higher Morality alone, and those who have been inspired 
by it, have Religion, and in particular the Christian Re 
ligion, Wisdom and Science, Legislation and Culture, 
Art, and all else that we possess of Good and Venerable, 
been introduced into the world. In Literature, except 
scattered among the Poets, there are to be found but few 
traces of this view : among the ancient Philosophers, 
Plato may have had some presentiment of it ; among 
the moderns, Jacobi sometimes touches upon this region. 

The Fourth view of the World is that from the stand 
point of RELIGION; which, since it arises out of the third 


view which we have just described, and is conjoined with it, 
must be characterized as the clear knowledge and convic 
tion that this Holy, Good, and Beautiful, is by no means a 
product of our own spirit, light, or thought, or of any other 
knowledge which in itself is nothing, but that it is the im 
mediate manifestation in us of the inward Divine Nature 
as LIGHT; his expression, his image, wholly, absolutely, 
and without abatement, in so far as his essential Nature 
can come forth in an image or representation. This, the 
Religious view, is that same insight for the production of 
which we have prepared the way in our previous lectures, 
and which now, in the connexion of its principles, may be 
thus more precisely and definitely expressed : (1.) God 
alone is, and nothing beside him : a principle which, it 
seems to me, may be easily comprehended, and which is 
the indispensable condition of all Religious insight. (2.) 
But while we thus say " God is," we have an altogether 
empty conception, furnishing absolutely no explanation of 
God s essential Nature. From this conception, what 
could we answer to the question : What then is God ? 
The only possible addition we could make to the axiom, 
this, namely, that he is absolutely, of himself, through 
himself, and in himself, this is but the fundamental 
form of our own understanding applied to him, and ex 
presses no more than our mode of conceiving him ; and 
even that negatively and as we can not think of him, 
that is, we mean only that we cannot educe his being 
from another, as we are compelled by the nature of our 
understanding to do with all other objects of our thought. 
This conception of God is thus an abstract and unsub 
stantial conception ; and when we say " God is," he is 
to us essentially nothing ; and, by this very expression 
itself, is made nothing. (3.) But beyond this mere empty 
and unsubstantial conception, and as we have carefully 
set forth this matter above, God enters into us in his 
actual, true, and immediate LIFE ; or, to express it more 


strictly, we ourselves are this his immediate Life. But we 
are not conscious of this immediate Divine Life; and since, 
as we have also already seen, our own Ex-istence that 
which properly belongs to us is that only which we can 
embrace in consciousness, so our Being in God, notwith 
standing that at bottom it is indeed ours, remains never 
theless for ever foreign to us, and thus, in deed and truth, 
to ourselves is not our Being ; we are in no respect the 
better of this insight, and remain as far removed as 
ever from God. We know nothing of this immediate 
Divine Life, I said ; for even at the first touch of con 
sciousness it is changed into a dead outward World, which 
again divides itself into a five-fold form according to the 
point of view from which we regard it. Although it 
may be that it is God himself who ever lives behind all 
these varied forms, yet we see him not, but only his gar 
ment ; we see him as stone, plant, animal, &c., or, if we 
soar higher, as Natural Law, or as Moral Law : but all 
this is yet not He. The form for ever veils the essence 
from us; our vision itself conceals its object; our eye stands 
in its own light. I say unto thee who thus complainest : 
" Raise thyself to the standpoint of Religion, and alt 
these veils are drawn aside ; the World, with its dead 
principle, disappears from before thee, and the God-head 
once more enters and resumes its place within thee, in its 
first and original form, as LIFE, as thine own Life, which 
thou oughtest to live, and shalt live. Still the one, 
irreversible form of Reflexion remains, the Manifold 
variety in thee of this Divine Life, which in God him 
self is but One; but this form troubles thee not, for 
thou desirest it not nor lovest it; it does not mislead 
thee, for thou art able to explain it. In that which the 
Holy Man does, lives, and loves, God appears, no longer 
surrounded by shadows nor hidden by a garment, but in 
his own, immediate, and efficient Life ; and the question 
which is unanswerable from the mere empty and un- 


substantial conception of God, " What is God? " is here 
answered : " He is that which he who is devoted to him 
and inspired by him does." Wouldst thou behold God face > 
to face, as he is in himself ? Seek him not beyond the 
skies; thou canst find him wherever thou art. Behold 
the life of his devoted ones, and thou beholdest him ; 
resign thyself to him, and thou wilt find him within thine 
own breast." 

This, my friends, is the view of the World and of Being 
from the standpoint of Keligion. 

The Fifth and last view of the World is that from the 
standpoint of SCIENCE. Of Science, I say, One, Abso 
lute, and Self-complete. Science thoroughly comprehends 
all these points of the transition of the One into a Mani 
fold, and of the Absolute into a Relative, in their order 
and in their relations to each other; being able, in every 
case, and from each individual point of view, to carry 
back that Multiplicity to its primitive Unity, or to deduce 
from the original Unity that Multiplicity of form : as 
we have laid before you the general characteristics of 
such Science in this and our two preceding lectures. 
Science goes beyond the insight into the fact that the 
Manifold is assuredly founded on the One and is to be 
referred to it, which is given to us by Religion, to the 
insight into the manner of this fact ; and to it that be 
comes a genetic principle which to Religion is but an 
absolute fact. Religion without Science is mere Faith 
although an immovable Faith ; Science supersedes all 
Faith and changes it into sight. Since we do not, how 
ever, put forward this Scientific standpoint as properly 
belonging to our present inquiry, but only refer to it for 
the sake of completeness, it is sufficient at present to add 
the following respecting it : Science is not indeed a con 
dition of the Divine and Blessed Life ; but nevertheless 
the demand that we should realise this Science, in our 
selves and in others, falls within the domain of the Higher 

I I 


Morality. The true and complete Man ought to be 
thoroughly clear in himself; for universal and complete 
clearness belongs to the image and representative of God. 
But, on the other hand, no one can make this demand 
upon himself to whom it has not already been made 
without his own aid, and has thereby itself become already 
clear and intelligible to him. 

We have yet to make the following remarks on the five 
points of view which we have now indicated, and thus to 
complete our picture of the Religious Man. 

Both the last-mentioned points of view, the Scientific 
as well as the Religious, are only percipient and con 
templative, not in themselves active and practical. They 
are merely inert and passive moods, which abide within the 
mind itself; not impulses moving towards action, and so 
bursting forth into life. On the contrary, the third point 
of view, that of the Higher Morality, is practical, im 
pelling towards action. And now I add : True Religion, 
notwithstanding that it raises the thought of those who 
are inspired by it to its own region, nevertheless retains 
their life firmly within the domain of action, and of right 
moral action. The true and real Religious Life is not 
alone percipient and contemplative, does not merely brood 
over devout thoughts, but is essentially active. It con 
sists, as we have seen, in the intimate consciousness that 
God actually lives, moves, and perfects his work in us. 
If therefore there is in us no real Life, if no activity 
and no visible work proceed forth from us, then is God 
not active in us. Our consciousness of union with God is 
then deceptive and vain, and the empty shadow of a con 
dition that is not ours ; perhaps the vague but lifeless in 
sight that such a condition is possible, and in others may be 
actual, but that we ourselves have, nevertheless, not the 
least portion in it. We are expelled from the domain of 
Reality, and again banished to that of vain and empty con 
ception. The latter is mere fanaticism and idle dreaming, 


because there is no reality answering to it; and this 
fanaticism is one of the faults of that system of Mysti 
cism which we have elsewhere described and contrasted 
with the True Religion : it is by living activity that the 
True Religious Life is distinguished from this fanaticism. 
Religion does not consist in mere devout dreams, I said: 
Religion is not a business by and for itself, which a man 
may practise apart from his other occupations, perhaps on 
certain fixed days and hours ; but it is the inmost spirit 
that penetrates, inspires, and pervades all our Thought 
and Action, which in other respects pursue their appointed 
course without change or interruption. That the Divine 
Life and Energy actually lives in us, is inseparable from 
Religion, I said. But this does not depend upon the 
sphere in which we act, as may have become evident 
from what we said when speaking of the third point of 
view. He whose knowledge extends to the objects of the 
Higher Morality, if lie be animated by Religion, will live 
and act in this sphere, because this is his peculiar calling 
But to him who has only a lower vocation, even it may be 
sanctified by Religion, and will receive thereby, if not the 
material, yet the form of the Higher Morality ; to which 
nothing more is essential than that we should recognise 
and love our vocation as the Will of God with us and in 
us. If a man till his field in this faith, or practise the 
most unpretending handicraft with this truthfulness, he 
is higher and more blessed than if, without this faith, 
if that were possible, he should confer happiness and 
prosperity upon mankind for ages to come. 

This then is the picture the inward spirit of the true 
Religious man : He does not conceive of his World, the 
object of his love and his endeavour, as something for 
him to enjoy, not as if melancholy and superstitious fear 
caused him to look upon enjoyment and pleasure as some 
thing sinful but because he knows that no mere pleasure 
can yield him true joy. He conceives of it as a World of 


Action, his World, in which alone he lives and can 
live, and find enjoyment of himself. This Action again 
he does not will for the sake of a result in the World 
of Sense ; he is in no respect anxious about the result 
or no-result that may ensue, for he lives only in Action, 
as Action ; but he wills it, because it is the Will of God 
in him, and his own proper portion in Being. And so does 
his Life flow onwards, simple and pure, knowing, willing, 
and desiring nothing else than this, never wandering 
from this centre, neither moved nor troubled by aught 
external to itself. 

Such is his Life. Whether this be not of necessity the 
most pure and perfect Blessedness, we shall inquire at 
another time. 

( 381 ) 





OUR whole Doctrine, as the foundation of all that \ve have 
yet to say at this time, and generally of all that we can 
say at any time, is now clearly and distinctly set forth, and 
may be surveyed at a single glance. There is absolutely 
no Being and no Life beyond the immediate Divine Life. 
According to the essential and irreversible laws of Con 
sciousness, laws which are founded in the very nature of 
Consciousness itself, this Being is veiled and darkened in 
Consciousness, by manifold concealments ; but, freed from 
these disguises, and modified only by the form of Infini 
tude, it reappears in the life and actions of the God- 
inspired man. In his actions it is not man who acts; 
but God himself, in his primitive and inward Being and 
Nature, acts in man and fulfils his work through man. 

I said, in one of the first and introductory lectures, that 
this doctrine, however new and unheard of it may seem to 
this age, is nevertheless as old as the world ; and that, in 
particular, it is the doctrine of Christianity, as this, even to 
the present day, lies before our view in its purest and most 
excellent record, the Gospel of John ; and that this doctrine 
is there set forth with the very same images and expres- 


sions which we here employ. It may be well, in many re 
spects, to make good that statement, and to this purpose 
we shall devote the present lecture. It will be understood, 
even without a special declaration on our part, that we by 
no means intend to prove our doctrine, or even to add to 
it an outward support, by demonstrating this harmony be 
tween it and Christianity. It must already, by what we 
have previously said, have proved itself, and that with abso 
lute evidence, and it needs no further support. And in 
the same way must Christianity, as in harmony with Rea 
son, and as the pure and perfect expression of this Reason, 
beyond which there is no truth, so, I say, must Chris 
tianity prove itself, if it is to lay claim to validity and 
acceptance. It is not by philosophers that you need fear 
to be led back again into the chains of blind authority. 

In my lectures of last winter,* I have distinctly an 
nounced the grounds upon which I regard the Apostle 
John as the only teacher of true Christianity: namely, 
that the Apostle Paul and his party, as the authors of the op 
posite system of Christianity, remained half Jews ; and left 
unaltered the fundamental error of Judaism as well as of 
Heathenism, which we must afterwards notice. For the 
present the following may be enough : It is only with 
John that the philosopher can have to do, for he alone 
has respect for Reason, and appeals to that evidence 
which alone has weight with the philosopher the in 
ternal. "If any man will do the will of him that sent 
me, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." 
But this Will of God, according to John, is that we 
should truly believe in God, and in Jesus Christ whom 
he hath sent. The other promulgators of Christianity, 
however, rely upon the external evidence of Miracle, t 
which, to us at least, proves nothing. Further, of the 
four Gospels, only that of John contains what we seek and 

* " Characteristics of the Present Age/ Lecture VIT. 

LECTURE v;. 333 

desire, a Doctrine of Religion; while, on the contrary, the 
best that the others offer to us, without completion and 
explanation by John, amounts to nothing more than 
Morality; which to us has but a very subordinate value. 
As to the assertion that John had the other Evangelists 
before him, and only intended to supply what they had 
omitted, we shall not here inquire into it ; should that 
be the case, then, in our opinion, the supplement is the 
best part of the whole, arid John s predecessors had passed 
over that precisely which was of essential importance. 

As to the principle of interpretation which I apply to 
this as well as to all the other authors of the Christian 
Scriptures, it is the following : So to understand them as 
if they had really desired to say something, and, so far as 
their words permit, as if they had said what is right and 
true : a principle that seems to be in accordance with 
justice and fairness. But we are wholly opposed to the 
hermeneutical principle of a certain party, according to 
which the most earnest and simple expressions of these 
writers are regarded as mere images and metaphors, and 
thus explained and re-explained away, until the result 
is a flat and insipid triviality such as these interpreters 
might themselves have discovered and brought forward. 
Other means of interpretation than those contained in 
themselves seem to me inadmissible in the case of these 
writers, and particularly in the case of John. Where, as 
in the case of the profane authors of classical antiquity, 
we can compare several contemporary writers with each 
other, and all of them with a preceding and succeeding 
republic of letters, there is room for the employment of 
external aids. But Christianity, and particularly John, 
stands alone and isolated, as a wonderful and inexpli 
cable phenomenon of Time, without precedent and with 
out true succedent. 

In the substance of the Johannean doctrine, which we 
have to set forth, we must carefully distinguish between 


that in it which is true in itself, true absolutely and for 
all time, and that which has been true only for the 
standpoint of John and the Jesus whom he announces, 
and for their time and circumstances. This latter, too, 
we shall faithfully set forth ; for any other mode of inter 
pretation than this is not only dishonest, but leads to 
perplexity and confusion. 

The portion of the Gospel of John which must neces 
sarily attract our attention at the very outset, is the 
dogmatic introduction which occupies a part of the first 
chapter; as it were the preface. Do not regard this 
preface as a special and arbitrary philosopheme of the 
author himself, a speculative prelude to his historical 
narrative, of which, holding only to the facts themselves, 
we may, according to the proper intention of the author, 
adopt whatever opinion we please ; as some appear to 
regard this proem. It is much rather to be considered 
in relation to the whole Gospel, and to be understood 
only in that connexion. Throughout the whole Gospel, 
the author represents Jesus as speaking of himself in a 
certain manner, which we shall afterwards advert to; and 
it is without doubt the conviction of John that Jesus 
did speak precisely in this way and in no other, and 
that he had heard him thus speak ; and it is without 
doubt his earnest desire that we should believe him in 
this. Now the preface explains how it was possible that 
Jesus could think and speak of himself as he did ; and 
it is therefore necessarily assumed by John that not only 
he himself, and according to his own mere personal 
opinion, so regarded Jesus and would so interpret him, 
but that Jesus had likewise regarded himself in the 
same way in which he is here depicted. The preface is 
to be taken as the essence, the general standpoint, of all 
the discourses of Jesus; it has, therefore, in the view 
of the author, the same authority as these discourses 
themselves. In the sight of John, this preface is not his 


own doctrine but that of Jesus, and indeed is the spirit, 
the innermost root, of the whole doctrine of Jesus. 

Having thus clearly set forth this not-unimportant 
point, let us proceed, by the following preliminary remark, 
to the subject itself. 

The notion of a creation, as the essentially fundamental 
error of all false Metaphysics and Religion, and, in particu 
lar, as the radical principle of Judaism and Heathenism, 
arises from ignorance of the doctrine which we have pre 
viously laid down. Compelled to recognise the absolute 
unity and unchangeableness of the Divine Nature in itself, 
and being unwilling to give up the independent and real 
existence of finite things, they made the latter proceed from 
the former by an act of absolute and arbitrary power ; 
whereby, in the first place, the fundamental conception of 
Godhead was utterly destroyed, and an arbitrary power 
established in its room, an error that ran through the 
whole of their religious system ; and, in the second place, 
Reason was for ever perverted, and Thought changed 
into a dream of fancy ; for of such a creation it is im 
possible even to conceive rightly in Thought what can 
properly be called Thought and no man ever did so 
conceive of it. In relation to the Doctrine of Religion, 
in particular, the supposition of a creation is the first 
criterion of the falsehood, and the denial of such a cre 
ation, should it have been set up by any previous system, 
is the first criterion of the truth, of such a Doctrine of 
Religion. Christianity, and especially the profound 
teacher of it of whom we now speak, John, stood in the 
latter position; the existing Jewish Religion had set up 
such a creation. "In the beginning God created" thus 
do the sacred books of this Religion commence : " No," 
in direct contradiction to this, and Betting out with the 
very same words, in order more distinctly to mark the 
contradiction, but instead of the second and false expres 
sion giving the truth in its place, "No," said John 

c b 


" In the beginning," in the same beginning that is there 
spoken of, that is, originally and before all time, God 
did not create, for no creation was needed, but there was 
already ; " In the beginning was the Word, . . . and 
through him are all things made that are made." 

In the beginning was the Word, in the original text, 
the Logos ; which might also be translated Reason, or, 
as nearly the same idea is expressed in the book called the 
Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom; but which, in our opinion, 
is most exactly rendered by the expression " the Word," 
as it also stands in the oldest Latin version, doubtless in 
consequence of a tradition of the disciples of John. What 
then, according to the view of our author, is this Logos or 
Word? Let us not reason too nicely about the expression, 
but rather candidly note what John says of this Word: 
the predicates applied to a subject usually determine the 
nature of the subject itself, especially when they are applied 
to that subject exclusively. He says, that the Word was 
in the beginning ; that the Word was with God ; that God 
himself was the Word ; that the Word was in the begin 
ning with God. Was it possible for him to express more 
clearly the doctrine which we have previously taught in 
such words as the following : As besides God s inward 
and hidden Being in himself (Seyri), which we are able 
to conceive of in Thought, he has an Ex-istence (Daseyri), 
which we can only practically apprehend ; so this Ex-ist 
ence necessarily arises through his inward and absolute 
Being itself; and his Ex-istence, which is only by us 
distinguished from his Being, is, in itself and in him, not 
distinguished from his Being ; but this Ex-istence is ori 
ginally, before all time, and independently of all time, 
with his Being, inseparable from his Being, and itself 
his Being : the Word in the beginning, the Word with 
God, the Word in the beginning with God, God him 
self the Word, and the Word itself God ? Was it pos 
sible for him to set forth more distinctly and forcibly the 


ground of this proposition : that in God, and from God, 
there is nothing that arises or becomes ; but that in him 
there is but an "Is," an Eternal Present; and that 
whatever has Existence must be originally with him, 
and must be himself? "Away with that perplexing 
phantasm!" might the Evangelist have added, had he 
wished to multiply words; " away with that phantasm of 
a creation out of God of something that is not in himself, 
and has not been eternally and necessarily in himself! 
an emanation in which he is not himself present but for 
sakes his work ; an expulsion and separation from him 
that casts us out into desolate nothingness, and makes 
him our arbitrary and hostile lord !" 

This " Being with God," or, according to our expression, 
this his Ex-istence, is farther characterized as the Logos 
or Word. How was it possible more clearly to declare 
that it was his spiritual expression, his Revelation and 
Manifestation, clear and intelligible in and to itself ? 
or, as we have given utterance to the same idea, that 
the immediate Ex-istence (Daseyn) of God is necessarily 
Consciousness, partly of itself, partly of God ? for which 
proposition we have adduced the clearest proof. 

If this be now evident in the first place, then there is 
no longer the slightest obscurity in the assertion contained 
in verse 3, that " all things are made through him ; and 
without him is not anything made that is made, &c. ;" 
and this proposition is wholly equivalent to that which 
we propounded : that the World and all things exist 
only in Consciousness, according to John, in the Word, 
and only as objects of conception and Consciousness, 
as God s spontaneous expression of himself; and that 
Consciousness, or the Word, is the only Creator of the 
World, and, by means of the principle of separation con 
tained in its very nature, the Creator of the manifold 
and infinite variety of things in the World. 

In fine : I would express these three verses in my own 


language thus: The Ex-istence (Daseyti) of God is origi 
nal and underived like his Being (Seyn) ; the latter is 
inseparable from the former, and is indeed in all respects 
the same as the former : this Divine Ex-istence, in its 
substance, is necessarily Knowledge ; and in this Know 
ledge alone has a World, and all things present in the 
World, arisen. 

In like manner the two succeeding verses are now clear 
to us. In him, in this immediate Divine Ex-istence, was 
Life, the deepest root of all living, substantial Existence, 
which nevertheless remains for ever concealed from view; 
and in actual men this Life is Light, or conscious Re 
flexion ; and this one, eternal, primitive Light shines for 
ever in the Darkness of the lower and obscure grades of 
Spiritual Life, maintains these in existence, itself unseen, 
and the Darkness comprehends it not. 

So far as we have now proceeded in our interpretation 
of the proem to the Johannean Gospel, we have met only 
with what is absolutely and eternally true. At this point 
begins that which possesses validity only for the time of 
Jesus and the establishment of Christianity, and for the 
necessary standpoint of Christ and his Apostles; namely 
the historical, not in any way metaphysical proposition, 
that this absolute and immediate Existence of God, the 
Eternal Knowledge or Word, pure and undefiled as it is 
in itself, without any admixture of impurity or darkness, 
or any merely individual limitation, manifested itself in 
a personal, sensible, human existence, namely, in that 
Jesus of Nazareth, who at a certain particular time ap 
peared teaching and preaching in the land of Judea, and 
whose most remarkable expressions are here recorded, 
and in him, as the Evangelist has well expressed it, be 
came flesh. As to the difference, as well as the agree 
ment, of these two standpoints, that of the absolutely 
and eternally true, and that which is true only from the 
temporary point of view of Jesus and his Apostles, it 


stands thus. From the first standpoint, the Eternal 
Word becomes flesh, assumes a personal, sensible, and 
human existence, without obstruction or reserve, in all 
times, and in every individual man who has a living 
insight into this Unity with God, and who actually and 
in truth gives up his personal life to the Divine Life 
within him, precisely in the same way as it became 
incarnate in Jesus Christ. This truth, which, be it 
observed, speaks only of the possibility of being, without 
reference to the means of its actual attainment, is neither 
denied by John nor by the Jesus to whose teachings he 
introduces us ; but, on the contrary, they insist upon it 
everywhere in the most express terms, as we shall after 
wards ee. The peculiar and exclusive standpoint of 
Christianity, which has validity only for the disciples of 
that system, looks to the means of attaining this True 
Being, and teaches us thus regarding them ; Jesus of 
Nazareth, absolutely by and through himself, by virtue of 
his mere existence, nature or instinct, without deliberate 
art, and without guidance or direction, is the perfect sen 
sible manifestation of the Eternal Word, as no one what 
ever has been before him ; while those who become his 
disciples are as yet not so, since they still stand in need 
of its manifestation in him ; they must first become 
so through him. This is the characteristic dogma of 
Christianity, as a phenomenon of Time, as an institution 
for the religious culture of man, in which dogma, with 
out doubt, Jesus and his Apostles believed : set forth 
purely, brightly, and in the highest sense, in the Gospel 
of John, to whom Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Christ, 
the promised Saviour of Mankind, but only in virtue of 
this Christ being to him the Word made flesh ; in Paul 
and the others, mixed up with Jewish dreams of a Son 
of David, an abolisher of an Old Covenant, and a mediator 
of a New. Everywhere, but particularly in John, Jesus 
is the first-born, and only-begotten Son of the Father, not 


as an emanation or anything else of that kind ; these 
irrational dreams arose only at a later period, but in the 
sense above explained, in eternal unity and equality of 
nature ; and all other men can become children of God 
only mediately through Jesus, and by means of a trans 
formation into his nature. Let us, in the first place, 
distinctly recognise this ; for otherwise we shall partly 
interpret Christianity dishonestly, and partly not under 
stand it at all, but only be led into perplexity and con 
fusion. Let us, therefore, at least endeavour rightly to 
apprehend and judge of this point of view, which must 
of course remain open to every one, although we our 
selves have no intention of making use of it here. With 
reference to this matter, then, I remark (1.) An insight 
into the absolute unity of the human existence with the 
Divine is certainly the profoundest knowledge that man 
can attain. Before Jesus, this knowledge had nowhere 
existed ; and since his time, we may almost say down 
even to the present day, it has been again as good as 
rooted out and lost, at least in profane cognition. Jesus, 
however, was evidently in possession of this insight ; as 
we shall incontestably find, were it only in the Gospel of 
John, as soon as we ourselves attain it. How then came 
Jesus by this insight? That any one coming after him, 
when the truth had already been revealed, should again 
discover it, is not so great a wonder ; but how the first 
discoverer, separated from centuries before him and cen 
turies after him by the exclusive possession of this in 
sight, did attain to it, this is an exceeding great wonder. 
And so it is in fact true, what is maintained in the first 
part of the Christian Dogma, that Jesus of Nazareth is, 
in a wholly peculiar manner attributable to no one but 
him, the only-begotten and first-born Son of God ; and 
that all ages, which are capable of understanding him at 
all, must recognise him in this character. (2.) Although 
it be true, that in the present day, a man may re-discover 


tins doctrine in the writings of Christ s Apostles, and 
for himself and by means of his own conviction recognise 
it as the Truth ; although it be true, as we likewise 
maintain, that the philosopher, so far as he knows, dis 
covers the same truths altogether independently of 
Christianity, and surveys them in a consequentially and 
universal clearness in which they are not delivered, to us 
at least, by means of Christianity ; yet it nevertheless re 
mains certain, that we, with our whole age and with all our 
philosophical inquiries, are established on and have pro 
ceeded from Christianity ; that this Christianity has en 
tered into our whole culture in the most varied forms; and 
that, on the whole, we might have been nothing of all that 
we are, had not this mighty principle gone before us in 
Time. We can cast off no portion of the being that we 
have inherited from earlier ages; and no intelligent man 
will trouble himself with inquiries as to what would be, if 
that which is had not been. And thus also the second part 
of the Christian Dogma, that all those who, since Jesus, 
have come into union with God, have come into such 
union with God through him, and by means of his union 
with God, is likewise unquestionably true. And thus it 
is confirmed in every way, that, even to the end of Time, 
all wise and intelligent men must bow themselves re 
verently before this Jesus of Nazareth ; and that the more 
wise, intelligent and noble they themselves are, the more 
humbly will they recognise the exceeding nobleness of this 
great and glorious manifestation of the Divine Life. 

So much to guard the view of Christianity which pos 
sesses but temporary validity against false and unfair 
judgment where this may naturally be anticipated ; but 
by no means to force this view upon any one who either has 
not directed his attention to the historical side of the matter, 
or who, even if he have investigated that side of it, has been 
unable to discover there what we think we have found. 
Therefore, by what we have now said, we by no means wish 


to be understood as joining ourselves to the party of those 
Christians to whom things have a value only on account 
of the name they bear. The Metaphysical only, and not 
the Historical, can give us Blessedness ; the latter can 
only give us understanding. If any man be truly united 
with God, and dwell in him, it is altogether a matter of 
indifference how he may have attained that union ; and it 
would be a most useless and perverse employment, in 
stead of living in that high relation itself, to be contin 
ually conning over our recollections of the way toward 
it. Could Jesus return into the world, we might expect 
him to be thoroughly satisfied if he found Christianity 
actually reigning in the minds of men, whether his merit 
in the work were recognised or forgotten ; and this is, 
in fact, the very least that might be expected from a man 
who, while he lived on earth, sought not his own glory 
but the glory of him who sent him. 

Now that, by means of distinguishing these two stand 
points, we possess the key to all the expressions of the Jo- 
hannean Jesus, and the certain means of referring back 
whatever is clothed in a merely temporary form to its 
original source in pure and absolute Truth, let us com 
prise the substance of these expressions in the answer to 
these two questions : (1.) What does Jesus say of him 
self regarding his relation to the Godhead? and (2.) 
What does he say of his disciples and followers regard 
ing their relation, in the first place to himself, and then, 
through him, to the Godhead ? 

Chap. I. verse 18 " No man hath seen God at any 
time ; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom 
of the Father, he hath declared him : " or, as 
we have said : The essential Divine Nature, in 
itself, is hidden from us ; only in the form of 
Knowledge does it come forth into manifestation, 
and that altogether as it is in itself. 
Chap. Y. verse 19 " The Son can do nothing of him- 


self, but what he seeth the Father do ; for what 
things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son 
likewise : " or, as we have expressed it, his sep 
arate independent life is swallowed up in the life 
of God. 

Chap. X. verses 27, 28 " My sheep hear my voice, and 
I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto 
them eternal life; and they shall never perish, nei 
ther shall any pluck them out of my hand." Ver. 
29. " My Father who gave them me, is greater 
than all ; and none is able to pluck them out of 
my Father s hand." Who is it then, it may be 
asked, who holds and keeps them, Jesus or the 
Father ? The answer is given in verse 30 : "I 
and my Father are one:" the same thing said 
in the two identical statements. His life is my 
life, and mine is his ; my work is his work, and 
his is mine ; precisely as we have expressed our 
selves in our preceding lecture. 

So much for the clearest and most convincing passages. 
The whole Gospel speaks in the same terms on this point, 
uniformly and with one voice. Jesus speaks of himself 
in no other way than this. 

But further, how does Jesus speak of his followers, and of 
their relation to him ? He constantly assumes that, in 
their actual condition, they have not the true life in 
them, but, as he expresses it in Chap. III. with reference 
to Nicodemus, must receive a wholly different life, as 
much opposed to their present life as if an entirely new 
man should be born in their stead: or, where he 
expresses himself most forcibly, that they have not, 
properly speaking, either existence or life, but are sunk 
in death and the grave, and that it is he who must first 
give them life. 



On this point, consider the following decisive pas 
sages : 

Chap. YL verse 53 " Except ye eat my flesh and 
drink niy blood" (this expression will be after 
wards explained), "ye have no life in you:" 
Only by means of thus eating my flesh and drink 
ing my blood is there aught in you ; without this 
there is nothing. 

Chap. V. verse 24 " He that heareth my word," &c., 
" hath eternal life, and is passed from death unto 
life." Verse 25 " The hour is coming, and now 
is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son 
of God ; and they that hear shall live." Tbe 
dead ! Who are these dead ? Those who are to 
lie in their graves till the last day ? A coarse, 
crude interpretation ; in Scriptural language, an 
interpretation according to the flesh, and not 
according to the spirit. The hour was even then: 
they themselves were the dead who had not yet 
heard his voice, and even on that account were 

And what is this life that Jesus promises to give his 
followers ? 

Chap. Till, verse 51 " Verily, verily, I say unto you, 
If a man keep my word, he shall never see 
death," not as dull expositors take it ; " he 
shall indeed once die, only not for ever, but he 
shall again be awakened at the last day," but 
" he shall never die : " as the Jews actually under 
stood it, and attempted to refute Jesus by an 
appeal to the death of Abraham, while he justified 
their interpretation by declaring that Abraham, 
who had seen his day, who had, doubtless 
through Melchisedek, been initiated into his doc 
trine, was actually not dead. 


Or yet more distinctly, 

Chap. XI. verse 23-" Thy brother shall rise a*ain 
Martha" (whose head was filled with Jewish no 
tions) " saith unto him, I know that he shall rise 
again in the resurrection at the last day." No 
said Jesus" I am the Resurrection and the Life: 
he that believeth in me, though he were dead," 
yet shall he live ; and whosoever liveth, and be- 
lieyeth in me, shall never die." Union with me is 
union with the Eternal God and his Life, and the 
certain assurance thereof; so that in every moment 
of time, he who is so united with me, is in com 
plete possession of Eternity, and places no faith 
whatever in the fleeting and deceptive phenomena 
of a birth and a death in Time, and therefore 
needs no re-awakening as a deliverance from a 
death in which he does not believe. 
And whence has Jesus this power of giving Eternal 
Life to his followers ? From his absolute^ identity with 
God. Chap.V.v.26 "As the Father hath life in him 
self, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself." 

Further, in what way do the followers of Jesus become 
partakers of this identity of his Life with the Divine Life? 
Jesus declares this in the most manifold and varied ways, 
of which I shall here adduce only the most clear and 
forcible, that which, precisely on account of its absolute 
clearness, has been the most completely unintelligible and 
offensive, both to his contemporaries and to their descen 
dants even to the present day. Chap. VI. verses 53-55 
" Except ye eat the flesh of the Sou of Man, and drink 
his blood, ye have no life in you. AVhoso eateth my flesh, 
and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life. For my flesh is 
meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed." What does 
this mean? He explains himself at v. 56 " He that 
eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, 
and I in him," or, reversing the expression, He that 



leth in me and I in him, he hath eaten my flesh, &c. To 
eat his flesh, and drink his blood, means to become 
wholly and entirely he himself; to become altogether 
changed into his person without reserve or limitation ; 
to be a faithful repetition of his personality; to be 
transubstantiated with him, i.e. as he is the Eternal 
Word made flesh and blood, to become his flesh and 
blood, and what follows from that, and indeed is the 
same thing to become the very Eternal Word made 
flesh and blood itself; to think wholly and entirely 
like him, and so as if he himself thought, and not we ; 
to live wholly and entirely like him, and so as if he 
himself lived in our life. As surely as you do not now 
attempt to drag down my own words, and reduce them to 
the narrow meaning that Jesus is only to be imitated as an 
unattainable pattern, partially and at a distance, as far as 
human weakness will allow, but accept them in the sense in 
which I have spoken them, that we must be transformed 
into Christ himself, so surely will it become evident to 
you that Jesus could not well have expressed himself 
otherwise, and that he actually did express himself ex 
cellently well. Jesus was very far from representing him 
self as that unattainable ideal into which he was first 
transformed by the spiritual poverty of after-ages ; nor 
did his Apostles so regard him : among the rest Paul, 
who says : " I live not, but Christ liveth in me." Jesus 
desired that he should be repeated in the persons of his 
followers, in his complete and undivided character, as he 
was in himself; and indeed he demanded this absolutely, 
as an indispensable condition of discipleship : Except ye 
eat my flesh, &c., ye have no life whatever in you, but ye 
abide in the graves wherein I found you. 

Only this one thing he demanded : not more, and not 
less. He did not, by any means, propose to rest satisfied 
with the mere historical belief that he was the Eternal 
Word made flesh, the Christ, for which he gave himself 


out. He certainly did demand, even according to John 
as a preliminary condition, only to secure attention to, 
and acceptance of his teachings he did demand Faith 
that is, the previous admission of the possibility that he 
might be indeed this Christ ; and he even did not disdain 
to facilitate and strengthen this admission by means of 
striking and wonderful works which he performed. But 
the final and decisive proof, which was first to be made 
possible through the preliminary admission or Faith, was 
this : that a man should actually do the will of him who 
had sent Jesus, that is, in the sense we have explained, 
should eat his flesh and drink his blood, whereby he should 
, then know of the doctrine, that it was from God, and 
that he spake not of himself. As little is his discourse 
of faith in his expiatory merits. According to John, 
Jesus is indeed a Lamb of God that taketh away the sins 
of the world ; but by no means one who with his blood 
appeases an angry God. He takes them away : Accord 
ing to his doctrine, man does not exist at all out of God 
and him, but is dead and buried ; he does not even enter 
into the Spiritual Kingdom of God : how then can this 
poor, non-existent shadow introduce dissension into this 
Kingdom, and disturb the Divine Plan ? But he who is 
transformed into the likeness of Jesus, and thereby into 
that of God, he no longer lives himself, but God lives 
in him; but how can God sin against himself? Thus 
has he borne away and destroyed the whole delusion of 
sin, and the dread of a Godhead that could feel itself 
offended by men. Finally, if any man in this way should 
repeat the character of Jesus in his own person, what 
then, according to the doctrine of Jesus, is the result ? 
Thus does Jesus, in the presence of his disciples, call 
upon his Father : Chap. XVII. verse 20 "Neither 
pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall 
believe on me through their word ; that they all may be 
one ; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they 


also may be one in us." One in us. Now, according 
to tiiis consummation, all distinctions are laid aside; 
the whole community the first-born of all, with his 
more immediate followers, and with all those who are 
born in later days here merge together into one common 
source of all life the Godhead. And thus, as we have 
maintained above, does Christianity, assuming its purpose 
to be attained, again fall into harmony with the Absolute 
Truth, and itself maintain that every man may and 
ought to come into unity with God, and himself, in his 
own person, become the Divine Ex-istence, or the Eternal 

And thus it is proved that the doctrine of Christianity, 
even in the system of images under which it represents 
Life and Death, and all that flows therefrom, is in strict 
harmony with that doctrine which we have set forth to 
you in our previous lectures, and have combined into one 
single view at the beginning of to-day s discourse. 

In conclusion, listen once more to that with which I 
closed my last lecture, but now in the words of the same 
Apostle John. 

Thus he combines, doubtless with reference to his Gos 
pel, the practical results of the whole : Epistle I. Chap. 
I. " That which was from the beginning, which we have 
heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have 
looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word 
of Life." Do you observe how anxious he is to appear, 
not as having given forth his own thoughts in his Gos 
pel, but as the mere witness of what he had seen ? 
"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto 
you, that ye also " in spirit and on the foundation of 
the last words we have quoted from Jesus " may have 
fellowship with us ; and truly our fellowship " ours, the 
Apostles, as well as yours, the newly converted "is with 
the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. . . If we 
soy that we have fellowship with him, and walk in dark- 


ness "if we think that we are united with God while 
yet the Divine Energy does not burst forth in our lives 
" we lie, and do not the truth "we are but dreamers 
and fanatics. " But if we walk in the Light, as he is in 
the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the 
blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God" not, in the theo 
logical sense, his blood shed for the remission of our 
sins, but his blood and mind entered into us, his Life 
in us "cleanseth us from all sin/ and raiseth us far 
above the possibility of sin. 

( 401 ) 



THAT the fundamental doctrine of Christianity, as a special 
institution for the development of Religion in the human 
race : i.e. that in Jesus Christ, for the first time, and in a 
way predicable of no other man, the eternal Ex-istence 
(Daseyn) of God has assumed a human personality; and 
that all other men can attain to union with God only 
through him, and by means of the repetition of his whole 
character in themselves : that this is a merely historical, 
and not in any way a metaphysical proposition, we have 
already said in the text (page 388.) It is perhaps not 
superfluous to point out here, still more clearly, the distinc 
tion upon which this declaration is founded ; since I am 
not entitled, in the case of the general public to whom 
it is now presented, to make the same assumption as in 
the case of the majority of my immediate hearers, that 
they are familiar with this distinction through my other 

If we take these expressions in their strict signification, 
the Historical and the Metaphysical are directly opposed to 
each other; and that which is really historical is, on that 
very account, not metaphysical and the reverse. The 
Historical, and what is purely historical in every possible 



phenomenon, is that which may be apprehended as simple 
and absolute Fact, existing for itself alone and isolated 
from everything else, not explained or deduced from a 
higher source : the Metaphysical, on the contrary, and 
the metaphysical element in every particular phenome 
non, is that which necessarily proceeds from a higher 
and more comprehensive law, and which may be deduced 
from that law, and therefore cannot be comprehended as 
simple fact ; and, strictly speaking, can only by means 
of a delusion be regarded as fact at all, since in truth it 
is not apprehended as fact, but only in consequence of 
the Law of Reason that rules within us. The latter ele 
ment of the phenomenon never extends to its actuality, 
and the actual phenomenon again is never wholly ex 
hausted in it ; and therefore in all actual phenomena 
these two elements are inseparably combined. 

It is the fundamental error of all pretended science that 
does not recognise its own boundaries, in other words, of 
the transcendental use of the understanding, that it is not 
satisfied to accept the fact, simply as a fact, but must in 
dulge in metaphysical speculation concerning it. Since, on 
the supposition that what such a Metaphysic labours to re 
fer to a higher law is in truth simply actual and historic, 
there can be no such law, at least none accessible to us in 
the present life, it follows, that the Metaphysic we have 
described, arbitrarily assuming that such an explanation 
is to be found here, which is its first error, must then 
have recourse to its own invention for such an explanation, 
and fill up the chasm by an arbitrary hypothesis, which 
is its second error. 

With regard to the case now before us, the primitive 
fact of Christianity is accepted as historical, and simply as 
fact, when we say, what is evident to every man, that Jesus 
knew what he did know before any one else knew it, and 
that he taught and lived as he did teach and live ; 
without desiring to know further how all this was possible, 


which according to established principles, not however to 
be communicated here, cannot be ascertained in this life. 
But the same fact is metaphysisized by the transcendental 
use of the understanding, soaring beyond the fact itself, 
when we attempt to comprehend it in its primitive source, 
and to this end set up an hypothesis as to how the in 
dividual Jesus, as an individual, has emanated from the 
essential Divine Nature. As an individual, I have said ; 
for how humanity as a whole has come forth from the 
Divine Nature may be comprehended, and has, I hope, 
been made intelligible by our preceding lectures; and is, 
according to us, the theme of the introduction to the 
Johannean Gospel. 

Now to us, who regard the matter only historically, it is 
of no importance in which of these two ways the above- 
mentioned principle is received by any one else, but only 
in what way it was accepted by Jesus himself, and his 
Apostle John, and how they authorized others to accept 
it ; and it is certainly the most important element in our 
view of the matter, that Christianity itself, as represented 
by Jesus, has by no means accepted that principle meta 

We retrace our argument to the following proposi 
tions : 

(1.) Jesus of Nazareth undoubtedly possessed the high 
est perception, containing the foundation of all other 
Truth, of the absolute identity of Humanity with the 
Godhead, as regards what is essentially real in the former. 
Upon this merely historical proposition, every one to 
whom the following evidence is to prove anything what 
ever, must first of all come to an understanding with 
me; and I entreat you not to hurry over this point. 
In my opinion, no one who has not previously attained, 
by another way, to the knowledge of the One Reality, 
and who does not possess this knowledge in living acti 
vity within him, will readily discover it where I, having 


first passed through this condition, have found it. But 
if any one have already fulfilled this condition, and there 
by created for himself the organ by which alone Chris 
tianity may be comprehended, then he will not only 
clearly re-discover this fundamental truth in Christianity, 
but he will also discern a high and holy significance 
spread over the other, often apparently singular, ex 
pressions of these writings. 

(2.) The mode and manner of this knowledge in Jesus 
Christ, which is the second point of importance, may be best 
characterized by contrast with the mode and manner in 
which the speculative philosopher arrives at the same 
knowledge. The latter proceeds upon the problem, 
which in itself is foreign to Religion, and even profane 
in its sight, and which is imposed upon him merely by 
his desire of knowledge, to explain Existence. Wher 
ever there is a learned public, he finds this problem 
already proposed by others before him, and he finds fel 
low-labourers in its solution both among his predecessors 
and his contemporaries. It can never occur to him to 
regard himself as in any respect singular or conspicuous 
on account of the problem becoming clear to him. 
Further, the problem, as a problem, appeals to his own 
industry, and to the personal freedom of which he is 
clearly conscious ; and being thus clearly conscious of 
his own personal activity in its solution, he cannot, on 
that very account, regard himself as inspired. 

Suppose, finally, that he succeed in the solution, and 
that in the only true way, by means of the Religious 
Principle ; his discovery still proceeds upon a series of 
preparatory investigations, and in this way it is to him 
a natural result. Religion is but a secondary matter to 
him, and is not regarded by him purely and solely as Re 
ligion, but only as the solution of the problem to which 
he has devoted his life. 

It was not so with Jesus. In the first place, he did not 


set out from any speculative question, which could be 
solved only by a Religious Knowledge attained at a later 
period, and only in the course of the investigation of 
that question; for he explained absolutely nothing by 
his Religious Principle, and deduced nothing from it; 
but he presented it, alone and by itself, as the only 
thing worthy of knowledge, passing by everything else as 
undeserving of notice. His Faith, and his conviction, 
never allowed the question to arise as to the existence 
of finite things. In short, they had no existence for 
him ; only in union with God was there Reality. How 
this Non-Entity could assume the semblance of Being, 
from which doubt all profane speculation proceeds, did 
not even excite his wonder. 

As little had he his knowledge by outward teaching and 
tradition ; for with that truly sublime sincerity and open 
ness which are evident in all his expressions, and here I 
venture to assume on the part of my reader that he has 
acquired an intuitive perception of this sincerity by means 
of his own personal possession of that virtue and by a pro 
found study of the life of Jesus,- he would in that case 
have said so, and directed his disciples to the sources of 
his own knowledge. It does not follow, because he him 
self indicated the existence of a truer religious knowledge 
before Abraham, and one of his apostles distinctly referred 
to Melchisedek, that Jesus had any connection with that 
system by direct tradition ; but it might readily happen 
that he should re-discover, in his study of Moses, that which 
was already present in his own mind; since it is evident 
from numerous other instances that he had an infinitely 
more profound comprehension of the writings of the Old 
Testament than the scriptural students of his day and the 
majority of those of our own ; while he likewise pro 
ceeded, as it appears, upon the sound hermeneutical prin 
ciple, that Moses and the Prophets really desired to say 
something and not nothing. 


To say that Jesus did not receive his knowledge either 
by means of his own speculation, or by communication 
from without, is equivalent to saying that he had it as 
part of his own existence, that it was to him primary 
and absolute, without connexion with any other element 
whatever ; purely through Inspiration, as we coming 
after him, and in contrast with our own knowledge, may 
express it, but as he himself never could express it. 
And what knowledge had he in this way? That all Being 
is founded in God alone; and consequently, what im 
mediately follows from this, that his own Being, with 
this knowledge and in this knowledge, had its founda 
tion in God, and proceeded directly from him. What 
immediately follows, I say : for to us certainly the latter 
is an inference from the universal to the particular, since 
we must first renounce our existing personal Ego, as 
the particular in question, and merge it in the universal: 
but it was by no means so, and this I entreat you to 
remark as the chief point, it was by no means so with 
Jesus. In him there was no intellectual, questioning, or 
learning Self to be renounced, for in this knowledge his 
whole spiritual self was already swallowed up. His 
Self-consciousness was at once the pure and absolute 
Truth of Reason itself; self-existent and original, the 
simple fact of consciousness : by no means, as with us, 
genetic, arising from another preceding state, and hence 
no simple fact of consciousness, but an inference. In 
that which I have thus endeavoured to express with the 
utmost precision and distinctness must have consisted the 
peculiar personal character of Jesus Christ, who, like every 
other true individuality, can have appeared but once in 
Time, and can never be repeated therein. He was the 
Absolute Reason clothed in immediate Self-consciousness ; 
or, what is the same thing, Religion. 

(3.) In this absolute Fact, Jesus reposed with his whole 
being, and was entirely lost therein ; with regard to it, he 


could never think, know, or say anything else but that he 
knew it was so in very deed ; that he knew it immediately 

in God, and that he also knew this in very deed that he 

knew it immediately in God. As little could he point out 
to his disciples any other way to Blessedness than that they 
should become like as he was ; for that his way of life was 
the source of Blessedness he knew in himself; but he knew 
not this Blessed Life in any other shape than in himself, 
and as his own way of life, and therefore he could not 
otherwise describe it. He knew it not in the abstract and 
universal conception in which the speculative philosopher 
knows it and can describe it ; for he did not proceed upon 
such conceptions, but only on his own self-consciousness. 
He received it only historically ; and he who receives it as 
we have explained above, receives it in like manner, and, as 
it seems to us, after his example, only historically thus : 
there was such a man, at such and such a time, in the 
land of Judea ; and so far well. But he who desires to 
know further, through what arbitrary arrangement of 
God, or inward necessity in God, such an individual was 
possible and actual, steps beyond the fact, and desires to 
metaphysisize that which is merely historical. 

For Jesus such a transcendentalism was simply impos 
sible ; for to this end it would have been requisite for 
him to distinguish himself, in his own personality, from 
God, represent himself as thus separate, wonder over 
himself as a remarkable phenomenon, and propose to 
himself the task of solving the problem of the possi 
bility of such an individual. But it is precisely the 
most prominent and striking trait in the character of 
the Johannean Jesus, ever recurring in the same shape, 
that he knows nothing of such a separation of his per 
sonality from his Father, and that he earnestly rebukes 
others who attempt to make such a distinction ; that he 
constantly assumes that he who sees him sees the Father, 
that he who hears him hears the Father, and that he 


and the Father are wholly one ; and that he uncondi 
tionally denies and rejects the notion of an independent 
personality in himself, when accused of undue self-asser 
tion by those who misunderstood his words. To him 
Jesus was not God, for to him there was no independent 
Jesus whatever; but God was Jesus and manifested 
himself as Jesus. Such self-contemplation, and wonder 
over one s-self, were very far removed, I will not say 
from a man like Jesus, with reference to whom the very 
acquittal from such a charge would be something like 
blasphemy, but from the whole realism of the ancient 
world ; and the faculty of constantly looking back upon 
ourselves to see how it stands with us, and of feeling 
over again our feelings and the feeling of our feelings, 
and so to explain ourselves and our remarkable person 
ality psychologically, even to tediousness, was reserved 
for the moderns ; with whom, on that very account, it 
can never be well until they are satisfied to live simply 
and plainly, without desiring to live their life over again 
in its various possible forms ; leaving it to others, who 
have nothing better to do, if they find it worth their 
while, to marvel over this life of theirs, and to render 
it intelligible. 

( 409 ) 





OUR theory of Being and Life is now completely laid before 
you. It has been shown, not by any means as a proof of 
this theory, but merely as a collateral illustration, that the 
doctrine of Christianity on these subjects is the same as our 
own. With reference to this latter view, I have here only 
to ask permission to make such further use of the evidence 
that has been brought forward, as sometimes to employ an 
expression or an image from the Christian Scriptures, in 
which are to be found most admirable and significant ima 
ges. I shall not abuse this liberty. I am not ignorant that 
in this age we can enter no circle at all numerous among 
the cultivated classes, in which there shall not be found 
some one in whom the mention of the name of Jesus, or 
the use of scriptural expressions, excites unpleasant feel 
ings, and the suspicion that the speaker must be either 
a hypocrite or a fool. It is wholly opposed to my princi 
ples to find fault with any one on this account : who can 
know how much he may have been tormented with these 
matters by meddling zealots, and what irrational things 
may have been forced upon him as Scripture doctrine ? But 
on the other hand, I know that in every cultivated society, 


and specially in that which assembles here, there are to be 
found other individuals, who love to fall back upon these 
associations, and, with them, upon the feelings of early 
youth. Let both these classes here reciprocally accommo 
date themselves to each other. I shall say all that I have 
to say, in the first place in ordinary language: let those 
to whom scriptural images are offensive, content them 
selves with the first expression, passing over the second 

The living possession of the theory we have now set 
forth, not the dry, dead, and merely historical knowledge 
of it, is, according to our doctrine, the highest, and indeed 
the only possible, Blessedness. To demonstrate this is our 
business henceforward ; and this marks out the second 
leading division of these lectures, which has also been 
separated from the first by the episodical inquiry to which 
the immediately preceding lecture was devoted. 

Clearness is always increased by contrast. Since it is 
now our aim to comprehend thoroughly the True and 
Bliss-giving mode of Thought, and to depict it to the 
life, it will be well to characterize, more profoundly and 
distinctly than in our first lecture, that superficial and 
unblessed mode of Existence which is directly opposed to 
the former, and which we, in common with Christianity, 
call a Non-Existence, Death, or living Burial. We have 
formerly characterized this false mode of Thought, in 
opposition to the true, as vagrancy in the Manifold, con 
trasted with retirement and concentration in the One ; 
and this is, and remains, its essential characteristic. But 
instead of directing our attention, as we did formerly, 
more to the manifold outward objects among which it 
is dissipated, let us no\v consider, without any reference 
whatever to the object, how this mode of Thought is in 
itself an open, shallow superficiality, a broken fountain 
whose waters run waste on all sides. 

All inward spiritual energy appears, in immediate Con- 


sciousness, as a concentration, comprehension, and contrac 
tion of the otherwise distracted spirit into one point, and as 
a persistence in this one point, in opposition to the con 
stant natural effort to throw off this concentration, and to 
become once more diffused abroad. Thus, I say, does all 
inward energy appear; and it is only in this concentration 
that man is independent, and feels himself to be indepen 
dent. Beyond this condition of self-contraction, he is dis 
persed and melted away as before; and that not according 
to his own will and purpose (for any such effort is the oppo 
site of dispersion concentration), but just as he is mould 
ed and formed by lawless and incomprehensible chance. 
In this latter condition, therefore, he has no independence 
whatever ; he exists, not as a substantial reality, but as a 
fuo-itive phenomenon of Nature. In short, the radical iin- 

O i * 

age of spiritual independence, in Consciousness, is an ever 
self-forming and vitally persistent geometric point; just as 
the radical image of dependence and of spiritual nonentity 
is an indefinitely outspreading surface. Independence 
draws the world into an apex ; dependence spreads it out 
into a flat extended plane. 

In the former condition only is there power, and the 
consciousness of power; and hence in it only is a powerful 
and energetic comprehension and penetration of the World 
possible. In the second condition there is no power: the 
Spirit of Man is not even present and at home in the 
comprehension of the World, but, like Baal in the ancient 
narrative, he has gone upon a journey, or is meditating, 
or is asleep : how can he recognise himself in the object, 
and distinguish himself from it ? He fades away, even 
from himself, in the current of phenomena; and thus 
his world pales before him, and instead of the living 
Nature, over against which, by way of contrast, he should 
set his own life, he beholds but a gray spectre, a misty 
and uncertain shape. To such may be applied what an 
ancient Prophet said of the idols of the heathen :" They 


have eyes, and see not; and have ears, and they hear not." 
They, in fact, see not with seeing eyes ; for it is a wholly 
different thing to comprehend, in the eye and in the 
mind, the visible object in its definite limitations, so that 
from henceforward we may be able at any moment volun 
tarily to recall it before the spiritual eye precisely as it 
had been seen at first, under which condition alone any 
one can truly say he has seen it, and to have a shadowy 
and formless appearance floating before us in vague un 
certainty until it disappears altogether, leaving behind it 
no trace of its existence. He who has not yet attained 
to this vivid comprehension of the objects of Outward 
Sense may rest assured that he is yet a far way off from 
the infinitely higher Spiritual Life. 

In this weary, superficial, and incoherent condition a 
multitude of oppositions and contradictions lie quietly 
and tolerantly beside each other. In it there is nothing 
discriminated and separated, but all things stand upon 
an equality, and have grown up intermingled with each 
other. They who live in it hold nothing to be true and 
nothing false ; they love nothing and hate nothing. For, 
in the first place, to such recognition as they might hold 
by for ever, to love, to hate, or to any other affection, 
there belongs that very energetic self-concentration of 
which they are incapable ; and, secondly, it is likewise 
requisite to such recognition or affection that they 
should separate and discriminate the Manifold, in order 
to choose therefrom the particular object of their recog 
nition and affection. But how can they accept anything 
whatever as established truth, since they would thereby 
be constrained to cast aside and reject, as false, all other 
possible things that are opposed to it ; to which their 
tender attachment to both alike will by no means con 
sent ? How can they love anything whatever with their 
whole soul, since they would then be under the necessity 
of hating its opposite, which their universal love and tol- 


eration will not permit? They love nothing, I said; 
and interest themselves in nothing, not even in them 
selves. If they ever propose the questions to themselves: 
"Have I then right on my side, or have I not ? am 
I right, or am I wrong ? what is to become of me, and 
am I on the way to happiness or to misery ? "they 
must answer : " What matters it to me ; I shall see what 
becomes of me, and must accommodate myself to what 
ever happens, time will show the result." Thus are 
they despised, cast aside, and rejected of themselves ; 
and thus even their most immediate owners, they them 
selves, need not trouble themselves about them. Who 
else shall ascribe to them a higher value than they claim 
for themselves? They have resigned themselves to blind 
and lawless chance, to make of them whatever chance may 
bring forth. 

As the right mode of thought is in itself right and good, 
and needs no good works to exalt its value, although 
such good works will never indeed be awanting, so is the 
mode of thought which we have now described, in itself 
worthless and despicable, arid there is no need of any par 
ticular malignancy being superadded to it to make it 
worthless and despicable ; and thus no one need here con 
sole himself with the idea that though in this condition he 
nevertheless does nothing evil, but perhaps, according to 
his notions, even does what he calls good. This is indeed 
the very sinful pride of this mode of thought, that these 
men think they could sin if they would, and that we must 
accord them great thanks if they refrain from doing so. 
They mistake : they can do nothing whatever, for they 
do not even exist, and there are no such realities as they 
imagine themselves to be ; but, in their stead, there lives 
and works blind and lawless chance ; and this manifests 
itself, just as it happens, here as an evil and there as an 
outwardly blameless phenomenon, without the phenome 
non, the mere impress and shadow of a blindly operative 


power, on that account deserving, in the first case blame, 
or in the second case praise. Whether they shall prove 
to be noxious or beneficent phenomena, we can know only 
from the result, and it is of no importance. We know 
assuredly that, in any case, they shall be without inward 
Spiritual Life, in a state of vague incoherence and un 
certainty; for that which rules within them, the blind 
power of Nature, can manifest itself in no other way, 
this tree can bear no other fruit. 

That which renders this state of mind incurable, which 
deprives it of all incitement towards a better, and closes it 
against instruction from without, is the almost total inca 
pacity which is associated with it, to apprehend in its true 
sense, even historically, anything that lies beyond its own 
mode of thought. They would think that they had cast 
off all love of humanity, and had done the most grievous 
injustice to an honourable man, were they to assume 
that, however singularly he might express himself, he 
could mean, or wish to mean, anything else than that 
which they mean and say; or were they to ascribe to 
any communication from other men any other purpose 
than to repeat before them some old and well-known 
lesson, so that they might be satisfied that the speaker 
had thoroughly learned it by rote. Let a man guard 
himself as he may by means of the most distinctly marked 
antagonisms, let him exhaust all the resources of lan 
guage to choose the strongest, most striking, and most 
convincing expression, as soon as it reaches their ear it 
loses its nature, and becomes changed into the old triviality; 
and their art of dragging down everything to their own 
level is triumphant over all other art. Therefore are they 
in the highest degree averse to all powerful and energetic 
expressions, and particularly to such as strive to enforce 
comprehension by means of images; and, according to their 
law, those expressions must everywhere be selected that 
are most vague, indefinite, and far-fetched, and on that very 


account most powerless and insipid, under pain of appear 
ing to be unpolished and obtrusive. Thus, when Jesus 
spoke of eating his flesh and drinking his blood, his disci 
ples found it a hard saying; and when he mentioned the 
possibility of a union with God, the Jews took up stones 
and cast them at him. They are always in the ri^ht ; 
and since nothing whatever can or ought to be said at 
any time but that which they already express in their 
language in this way or that, whence then the surprising 
effort to express this same thing in another fashion, 
whereby there is only imposed upon them the superfluous 
labour of translating it back again into their own speech ? 
This delineation of spiritual Non-Existence, or, to use 
the image of Christianity, of the Death and Burial of a 
living body, has been here introduced, partly in order to 
set forth the Spiritual Life more clearly by contrast, and 
partly because it is itself a necessary element in that 
description of man, in his relation to Weil-Being, which 
it is our next duty to undertake. As a guide to this 
description, we possess, and shall employ, those five stand 
points in man s view of the World which we set forth 
in our fifth lecture ; or, since the standpoint of Science 
is excluded from popular discourses, the other four, as 
so many standpoints in man s enjoyment of the World 
and of himself. To them the state of spiritual Non- 
Existence which we have just described does not at all 
belong ; it is no possible or positive something, but a 
mere nothing ; and so it is likewise altogether negative 
in relation to enjoyment and Weil-Being. In it there is 
no such thing as Love, whilst all enjoyment is founded 
on Love. Hence, to this condition enjoyment is alto 
gether impossible ; and therefore a description of it was 
requisite at the outset, as the description of absolute joy- 
lessness or unblessedness, in r opposition to the several 
modes, now to be set forth, in which man may actually 
enjoy the World or himself. 


All enjoyment, I have said, is founded on Love. What 
then is Love ? I say, Love is the affection (Affect) of 
Being (Seyri). Argue it thus with me : Being (Seyri) 
is self-reliant, self-sufficient, self-complete ; and needs no 
Being beyond itself. Now let this be felt in absolute 
Self-consciousness ; and what arises ? Obviously a feeling 
of- this independence and self-sufficiency; hence, of 
Love of this self; or, as I said, an affection or attach 
ment of Being, by means of itself alone ; that is, the 
feeling of Being as Being. Add further, that in the 
Finite Being, such as we have described above, conceived 
of as in a constant state of change and transition, there 
likewise dwells an original ideal type of his True and 
Proper Being, then does he love this ideal type; and 
when his actual and sensible being is in harmony with 
this ideal type, then is his Love satisfied, and it is well 
with him ; but when, on the contrary, his actual being 
is not in harmony with this primitive idea, which never 
theless continues living, inextinguishable, and eternally 
beloved within him, then it is not well with him, for 
then he wants that which nevertheless he cannot hin 
der himself from loving before all things, longing and sor 
rowing after it continually. Well-being is union with the 
object of our Love ; sorrow is separation from it. Only 
through Love does man subject himself to the influence 
of well-being or of sorrow ; he who does not love is secure 
from both of these. But let no one believe that the wan 
and death-like condition that we have described above, 
which as it is without love is also without sorrow, is on 
that account to be preferred to the life in Love, that is 
accessible to sorrow, and may be wounded by it. For, in 
the first place, even in the feeling of sorrow we at least 
feel, recognise, and possess ourselves, and this of itself is 
unspeakably more blessed than that absolute want of any 
self-consciousness ; and, in the second place, this sorrow is 
the wholesome spur that should impel us, and that sooner 


or later will impel us, to union with the object of our Love 
and to Blessedness therein. Happy, therefore, is the man 
who is able to sorrow and to aspire. 

To the first standpoint from which man may view the 
World, in which reality is attributed only to the objects of 
OUTWARD SENSE, sensuous pleasure is of course the pre 
dominant motive in his enjoyment of himself and of the 
World. Even this, as we have already said with a scien 
tific purpose, and in illustration of the first principle we 
laid down of this whole matter, even this is founded on 
an affection of Being, in this case, as an organized sen 
suous life, on the love of this Being, and for the obvious 
and direct means for the maintenance of this Being, not, 
as some have supposed, perceived only by an unconscious 
inference of the understanding. An article of food has 
a pleasant taste to us, and a flower a pleasant smell, be 
cause they exalt and enliven our organic existence ; and 
the pleasant taste, as well as the pleasant smell, is no 
thing but the immediate feeling of this exaltation and 
enlivenment. But let us not longer pause at this mode 
of enjoyment, which, although it certainly is a constituent 
element in the system of Universal Life, and on that ac 
count is perhaps not properly to be despised, is neverthe 
less undeserving of deliberate thought or earnest atten 
tion ! although I must candidly confess that, in a com 
parative point of view, he who can throw himself wholly 
and with undivided feeling into a sensuous enjoyment, 
is, in my opinion, of far greater worth in the eyes of the 
consequential philosopher than he who, from mere super 
ficiality, vagrancy, and diffusiveness, is incapable of rightly 
enjoying even taste or smell, where only taste or smell 
can be enjoyed. 

In the social state there intervenes between this merely 
sensuous appetite and the higher forms of enjoyment, 
another class of affections, interposed by means of fancy, 
which however always relate at last to a sensuous enjoy- 


ment, and proceed from such. Thus, for example, the 
miser indeed voluntarily subjects himself to present want 
for which he has no immediate desire, but only from fear 
of future want for which he has still less desire ; and be 
cause he has so strangely trained his fancy, that he suffers 
more from this imagined future hunger than from the 
real hunger that he actually feels at the present moment. 
Neither let us pause any longer at these unsubstantial, 
shallow, and capricious affections, even although they are 
opposed to immediate sensuous enjoyment : all that be 
longs to this region is alike shallow and capricious. 

The second standpoint from which the World may be 
viewed is that of LEGALITY, in which reality is attributed 
only to a SPIRITUAL LAW ordering all actual Existence. 
What is the affection of this standpoint, and what is its 
consequent relation to Weil-Being ? For those among 
you who possess philosophical knowledge, I shall here, in 
passing, in a few short remarks and with strict conse 
quentially, throw a new light on this matter which has 
already been so well treated of by Kant. 

From this standpoint, Man, in the deepest root of his 
being, is himself the Law. This Law is the self-reliant, 
self-supporting Being of such a man, which neither needs 
nor can admit of any other Being whatever besides itself: 
a Law absolutely for the sake of Law, and wholly dis 
daining any purpose beyond itself. 

In the first place : thus rooted in Law, man can still 
be, think, and act. The philosopher who is not wholly 
superficial proves this a priori; the man who is not 
wholly rude or senseless feels it constantly in himself, 
and proves it by his whole life and thought. The cele 
brated axiom which, since this principle has been repro 
duced in our own time by Kant and others, has been 
brought forward and repeated usque ad nauseam by a 
decisive majority of the theologians, philosophers, and 
beaux-esprits of the age, the axiom that it is absolutely 


impossible for a man to will without having an external 
object of his volition, or to act without having an external 
object of his action this axiom we need not meddle 
with, but have only to meet it with cold and contemp 
tuous rejection. Whence do they know what they so 
categorically maintain, and how do they propose to prove 
their axiom ? They know it only from their knowledge of 
themselves ; and hence they ask nothing from an oppo 
nent but that he should look into his own bosom and find 
himself such as they are. They cannot do it, and there 
fore they maintain that no man can do it. But again : 

what is it they cannot do ? Will and act without an object 
beyond the action. And what is there that lies beyond 
will and action, and mental independence? Nothing what 
ever but sensuous well-being, for this is the only opposite 
of these : sensuous well-being, I say, however strangely 
it may be described, and even although the time and 
place of its fruition may be placed beyond the crave. 
And thus, what is it which they have discovered in this 
knowledge of themselves ? Answer : that they cannot 
even think, move, nor in any way bestir themselves, un 
less with a view to some outward well-beiner which is 


thereby to be attained ; that they cannot regard them 
selves as anything but the means and instruments of 
some sensuous enjoyment ; and that, according to their 
firm conviction, the Spiritual in them exists only for the 
purpose of nursing and tending on the Animal. Who 
shall dispute their self-knowledge, or attempt to gainsay 
them in that which they must know best of all, and 
which, in truth, only they themselves can know ? 

Man, on the second standpoint from which the World 
may be viewed, is himself the Law, we said ; a living, 
self-conscious, self-attached Law, or an affection of Law. 
But the affection of Law, as Law, and in this form, is, 
as I call upon you to perceive, an absolute command, an 
unconditional obligation, a Categorical Imperative; which, 


on account of this very categorical nature of its form, 
wholly rejects all love or even inclination towards the 
thing commanded. It shall be, that is all : simply it shall. 
If thou wouldst do it, there would be no need of the shall; 
it would come too late, and would be rejected; while, on the 
contrary, as surely as thou, on thy part, obeyest the shall, 
and canst so obey, so surely dost thou not will ; volition is 
superfluous, inclination and love are expressly laid aside. 

Now, could man wholly resign himself with his entire 
Life to this affection of Law, there would then be for 
him nothing beyond this cold and rigid commandment; 
and, with regard to his view of himself and of the World, 
the absolutely uninterested judgment whether a thing 
be in accordance with the Law or not ; wholly exclud 
ing all personal inclination and every thought of it being 
agreeable or disagreeable ; as indeed is actually the case 
where men give themselves up to this affection. Such 
an one, notwithstanding his strict acceptance of the 
Law, might yet declare that he did not, and would not, 
act in accordance with it, without anything like remorse 
or displeasure with himself ; and indeed with the same 
coolness with which he might acknowledge that some 
thousand years before his birth, and in a remote quarter 
of the world, some other person had not performed the 
obligation imposed upon him. But, in actual life, this 
affection is usually conjoined with an interest in our 
selves and our own personality ; which latter interest then 
assumes the nature of the first affection, and becomes 
modified thereby ; so that the view we take of ourselves, 
while it remains indeed a mere judgment, which it must 
be in virtue of the first affection, is yet not wholly an 
uninterested judgment; we are constrained to despise 
ourselves if we do not walk according to the Law, and 
we are free from this self-contempt if we act in har 
mony with it ; and we would much rather find ourselves 
in the latter position than in the former. 


The interest which man feels in himself, we said, is 
swallowed up in this affection of Law. He desires only 
not to be constrained to despise himself before the tribunal 
of the Law. Not to despise himself, I say, negatively; 
he cannot seek to respect himself, positively. Where- 
ever positive self-respect is spoken of, it is only, and can 
only be, the absence of self-contempt that is meant. For 
the judgment of which we here speak is founded solely 
on the Law, which is absolute, and assumes jurisdiction 
over the whole of humanity. There is no third course: 
either man is not in harmony with the Law, and then 
he must despise himself; or he is in harmony with it, 
and then he has nothing to allege against himself; but, 
in his fulfilment of the Law, he can by no means trans 
cend its requirements in aught, and do something beyond 
what he is bound to do, which would thus be done without 
commandment, and hence be a free and voluntary act ; 
and therefore he can never positively respect himself, 
nor honour himself as something excellent. 

The interest which man feels in himself is swallowed up 
in the affection of Law; this affection annuls all inclina 
tion, all love, and all desire. There is but one thing need 
ful to him not to despise himself; beyond this he wills 
nothing, needs nothing, and can use nothing. In that one 
want of his nature, however, he is dependent on himself 
alone ; for an Absolute Law, by which man is wholly 
encompassed, must necessarily represent him as entirely 
free. By means of this conception he is now elevated 
above all love, desire, and want, and thus above all that is 
external to him and that does not depend on himself; 
needing nothing but himself; and thus, by the extinction 
of everything in him that was dependent, himself truly in 
dependent, exalted above all things, and like the blessed 
Gods. It is only unsatisfied wants that produce un- 
happiness : require then nothing but that which thou 
thyself canst secure, (thou canst, however, make sure 


only of this, that thou shalt have no fault to find with 
thyself), and thou art for ever inaccessible to unhappi- 
ness. Thou hast no need of anything beyond thyself; 
not even of a God, for thou art thine own God, 
thine own salvation, and thine own Redeemer. 

No one who can justly lay claim to the amount of his 
torical knowledge which every educated man is presumed 
to possess, can have failed to perceive that I have now 
set forth the mode of thought peculiar to that celebrated 
system of antiquity Stoicism. A venerable picture of 
this mode of thought is the representation, made by an 
ancient poet, of the mythical Prometheus, who, in the 
consciousness of his own just and good deed, laughs at 
the Thunderer seated above the clouds, and at all the 
torments heaped upon his head by the relentless God ; 
and who, with undaunted courage, sees a world crashing 
around him into ruins, and, in the language of one of 
our own poets, thus addresses Zeus : 

" Here I sit, forming men 
After my image; 
A race that, like me, 
Shall suffer, weep, 
Enjoy and rejoice, 
And despise thee, Zeus ! 
As I do."* 

You have sufficiently understood that to us this mode 
of thought stands only upon the second grade in the 
possible views of the World, and is only the first and 
lowest form of the higher Spiritual Life. You have 
already, in our former lecture, received indications of a 
far more earnest and perfect Life, which shall be further 
developed in the succeeding lectures. Yet it is not our 
intention to surrender this mode of thought, which is in 
deed worthy of all honour, to the fashionable scorn of 
spiritual perversion, nor even to leave a single lurking- 

* Goethe s " Prometheus." 


place open to such perversion. With this view I add 
the following. 

It is unquestionably true that this mode of thought 
can arrive at the admission of a God only through in- 
i/ consequentially; and that, wherever it is consistent 
although it may at times make use of the conception of 
a God, perhaps for the theoretical explanation of Nature, 
but assuredly never for its own practical need of such 
a conception, yet it needs no God for its own heart, 
reverences none, and is indeed its own God. But what 
sort of God is that which it rejects? It is no other, 
and can be no other because on this standpoint no 
other is possible than the arbitrary distributor of sen 
suous well-being, whom we have already described, whose 
favour must be acquired by means of some expedient: 
even if that expedient be a behaviour in accordance with 
the Law, it is still but an expedient. This God, so con 
stituted, is rightly rejected ; he ought to be rejected, for 
he is not God; and the higher view of the World never 
again accepts God in this shape, as we, in the proper 
place, shall clearly see. Stoicism does not reject the 
truth, but only the lie ; it does not attain to the truth, 
but remains, with relation to it, only in a negative posi 
tion ; this is its defect. 

Thus also, the delusion of a certain system that calls 
itself Christian, that sensuous desire is sanctified by 
means of Christianity, and its satisfaction entrusted to a 
God, and that it has discovered the secret that it may 
serve this God even by indulgence of this desire ; this 
delusion too, I say, remains an error. The happiness 
which the sensuous man seeks is irrevocably separated 
from the Blessedness which Eeligion does not indeed 
promise, but immediately presents, by the gulf of sub 
jection to a Sacred Law before which all desire grows 
dumb; separated, not in degree, but in its very nature. 
And thus do those who, as philosophers, teach this same 


doctrine, and who in the most animated appeals seek to 
convince us that, by our demands, we would destroy the 
essential character of human nature, and tear its very 
heart from its body, besides their fitting despicableness 
make themselves also ridiculous. So also those beaux- 
esprits, who raise an outcry about the extirpation of love 
by means of Stoicism meaning by this love, not the 
flame of Divine Love, of which we shall afterwards speak, 
but only mere earthly love and desire and who believe 
that, since a child who innocently extends its little hands 
towards an offered dainty in a touching and therefore a 
pleasing spectacle, so may the grown man, who behaves in 
Like manner, demand the moral approval of the earnest 
censor, and that whatever is capable of affording the be 
holder a pleasing sesthetical spectacle is, on that account, 

in itself noble and good, these, I say, are lost in the 

most singular confusion of ideas. 

Thus much had I to say, with reference to Well-Being, 
regarding the second standpoint from which the World 
may be viewed by man ; which, in this respect, is only 
negative, mere Apathy : and I desired to set forth this 
strictly and clearly, in order, by means of this Apathy, as 
the middle state, to distinguish the Vulgar from the Holy, 
and to set up an insurmountable wall of separation be 
tween them. Wherein this Apathy is limited, and how it 
thereby becomes an impulse towards the development of 
a Higher Life in the Divine Love ; of this we shall speak 
in our next lecture. 







THE entire purpose and import of these Lectures may be 
thus briefly stated : to give a description of the One, 
True, and therefore Blessed Life. Every good description, 
however, ought to be genetic, and gradually unfold the 
matter described before the eyes of the beholders. The 
true Spiritual Life is peculiarly susceptible of such a ge 
netic description ; for it develops itself, as we said before, 
figuratively, as it then seemed, but, as it now appears, 
with very literal earnestness, this Life develops itself 
as a rule only gradually, having its several determinate 
stations. As these stations of the Spiritual Life, we 
have recognized five chief standpoints in man s possible 
view of the World ; and through these we have traced 
the ascent of Life, at first in a mere cold and uninter 
ested survey ; but in the preceding lecture we have, in 
place of this merely intellectual view, taken cognizance 
of its affections, its love, and its self-enjoyment ; and 
thereby we have, for the first time, completed the form 
of Life. This Life, thus defined, we have followed, in 



our last lecture, through the conditions of Nullity, of mere 
Sensuous Enjoyment, and of strict Legality or harmony 
with an assumed Law. 

As such a description of the Spiritual Life ascends to 
its higher forms, it becomes, for obvious reasons, more 
obscure and unintelligible to a majority of a degenerate 
age, because it now enters upon regions which are foreign 
to such an age, not known to it, either by its own 
spiritual experience, or even by hearsay. Thus it be 
comes the duty of those who undertake to speak of such 
subjects, if they must resign the hope of being positively 
understood by all men, at least to guard carefully against 
themselves giving occasion for any misconception ; and, 
if they cannot bring home the truth to all, yet to take 
care that no one, through their fault, is led to receive 
anything false ; and at least so to equip and prepare 
those who possess the power of fully comprehending their 
instructions, that these shall be able, each in his own 
circle, to give an account of the truth, and to correct the 
misapprehensions of others. This consideration has de 
termined me to devote a portion of this lecture to a pro 
found and exhaustive exposition of the matter which, in 
our last lecture, we brought to its culminating point, 
and have still to treat of in this. 

Those among you who are already initiated into spec 
ulative science shall, on this occasion, be introduced into 
the organic central-point of all speculation, in such a 
manner as, to my knowledge, has never and nowhere 
been attempted before. The others, who either are un 
able, or do not desire, to philosophize with us, may at 
least avail themselves of the opportunity thus present 
ed to them of listening to a strictly philosophical de 
monstration, in order to acquire a general conception of 
the matter, and to be convinced that, when rightly con 
ducted, it is by no means so strange and artificial a 
thing as is commonly supposed, but proceeds in a quite 


simple and natural manner, and requires in the student 
nothing more than the power of sustained attention. 
Nevertheless it will be necessary that even they who be 
long to this latter class should apprehend what is now to 
be said, historically at least, because before the conclusion 
of the lecture we shall come to something which all will 
wish to understand, but which cannot be understood un 
less the first part has been at least historically appre 
hended, and assumed as a possible hypothesis. 

We have seen and understood -.that Being (Seyn) is 
absolutely ; that it has never arisen nor become, nor has 
anything in it ever arisen or become. But further, this 
Being is also outwardly present, e-ists, as may be dis 
covered and perceived, but not genetically understood ; 
and after it has been thus discovered and perceived as 
ex-isting there present, then it may also be understood 
that this Ex-istence (Daseyri) has likewise not arisen 
nor become, but is founded in the inward necessity of 
Being (Seyri) itself, and is, through it, absolutely deter 
mined. By means of its thus ex-isting, and in this Ex 
istence, Being now becomes Consciousness; and that a 
Consciousness separated and broken up into a manifold 
variety of Forms : and this may, in like manner, be seen 
and understood as the necessary result of Ex-istence. 

In order that we may not have constantly to repeat 
the same series of words, we shall now comprehend under 
the term Form everything that attaches to Being in con 
sequence of Ex-istence ; which word, Form, shall hence 
forward signify all that we have already seen to be the 
necessary result of Ex-istence. (I may here mention, for 
the benefit of those who do not enter with us into the 
strictly philosophical view of our subject, that this is the 
case with all philosophical terminology; its expressions 
are only abbreviations of speech, employed to recall to 
mind briefly something which has been previously appre 
hended in immediate contemplation; and to him who has 


not been a partaker in this immediate contemplation, but 
to him alone, they are empty, unmeaning, formulas.) 

Thus we have these two elements : Being, as it is 
essentially and in itself, and Form, which is assumed 
by the former in consequence of its Ex-istence. But how 
have we expressed ourselves ? What is it that assumes 
a Form ? Answer : Being, as it is in itself, without any 
change Avhatever of its inward Essential Nature : this 
must be borne in mind. But what then is there in 
Ex-istence ? Answer : Nothing else than the One, 
Eternal and Unchangeable Being, besides which there 
can be nothing. Again : May this Eternal Being ex-ist 
otherwise than in this precise Form ? How were that 
possible, since this Form is nothing else than Ex-istence 
itself; and consequently the assertion, that Being could 
also ex-ist in another Form, would be equivalent to 
saying, that Being could ex-ist, and yet not ex-ist ? 
Let us call Being A, and Form, I mean universal 
Form, apprehended in its unity, B ; then Eeal Ex 
istence iuAxB and BxA, or A as determined by B, 
and the reverse. Determined, I say emphatically, so 
that your thoughts may now proceed, not from one of 
the extremes, but from the central-point ; and you may 
thus understand, that in Reality both these elements are 
united, and reciprocally interpenetrated by each other, 
so that in Reality, and indeed without the annihilation 
of the Reality of Existence, they can never again be 
separated. This is the point upon which everything de 
pends ; this is the organic central-point of all Specula 
tion ; and he who thoroughly penetrates to this, has 
attained perfect light. 

To make this yet stronger : God himself, that is, the 
Essential Nature of the Absolute, which is separated 
from his outward Ex-istence only by our limited compre 
hension, cannot throw off this absolute blending of Es 
sence with Form ; for even his Ex-istence, which only 


to the first merely phenomenal glance seems contingent 
and phenomenal, is yet to true Thought, which is the only 
decisive criterion, not contingent, but, since it is, and 
otherwise could not be, it must be a necessary result of his 
inward Essential Nature. By reason therefore of God s Es 
sential Nature itself, this Essential Nature is inseparably 
bound up with Form, and has of itself entered into Form ; 
which to those who are able to comprehend it, thoroughly 
solves the highest difficulty of Speculation which has ex 
isted from the beginning of the world down to the present 
day, and confirms our previous commentary on the words 
of John : " In the beginning, absolutely independent of 
all possibility of opposition, of all caprice, of all contin 
gency, and therefore of all Time, founded on the inward 
necessity of the Divine Nature itself, was Form ; and 
Form was with God, contained in, established on, and 
its very Ex-istence proceeding from, the inward determi 
nate character of the Divine Nature; and Form was 
itself God ; God manifested himself in it even as he is in 

For example: One portion of Form was the infinitely 
progressive and continuous manifestation and characteri 
zation of Being, which in itself eternally remains the same, 
= A. I ask you, that you may hereby test your know 
ledge of the subject : In this Infinite Manifestation and 
characterization, what is the real and active principle 
that is manifested and characterized ? Is it Form ? This, 
in itself, is nothing. No : it is the Absolute Reality = A, 
that manifests itself as it essentially is ; manifests itself, 
I say, according to the law of an Infinity. Nothing does 
not manifest itself; but the Essential Divine Nature 
manifests itself. 

Out of this Infinity, take, wherever you will, the sub 
stance of any one particular moment. This substance, 
let it be understood, is wholly determined; it is that which 
it is, and nothing else. I ask : Wherefore is it that which 


it is, and by what has it been thus determined ? You can 
give no answer but this : By two factors ; in the first 
place, because the Absolute, in its Essential Nature, is 
as it is ; and, in the second place, because this same Abso 
lute flows forth in an Infinite Manifestation. After deduct 
ing that element of the substance of the moment which 
proceeds from the Essential Nature of the Absolute, what 
remains in this moment i. e. that in it which is purely 
and simply Manifestation is that which especially be 
longs to this moment out of the infinite multiplicity of 

We have said that this infinite divisibility is the one 
portion of Form ; and we made use of this portion as an 
example, in order thereby to make our fundamental prin 
ciple more distinct. For our present purpose, however, 
we require the second portion of Form, to which we must 
also apply the fundamental principle we have laid down, 
and which is now, we hope, understood ; to which end I 
must again lay claim to your attention. 

This second portion of Form is a division into five col 
lateral but as dominant points reciprocally exclusive 
standpoints in the view of Reality. Collateral, but as 
dominant points reciprocally exclusive : it is of im 
portance that this should here be borne in mind. We 
have already proved this above ; and indeed it is imme 
diately evident at the first glance. Once more then : 
What is it that is divided in this new division ? Obvi 
ously the Absolute, as it is in itself; the same Abso 
lute which, in the same unity and completeness of Form, 
divides itself likewise to Infinity. Of this there can be 
no doubt. But how are these points presented to us : 
are they presented as actual, like the entire Infinity that 
flows through Time ? No, for they reciprocally exclude 
each other, as dominant, in one and the same moment 
of Time; and hence, in relation to the fulfilment of all 
moments of Time by any one of them, they are all as- 


sumed only as equally possible; and Being appears, in 
relation to each of them individually, not as necessarily 
to be so understood, nor as actually so understood, but 
only as possibly to be so understood. Specially : Does 
then the One Being, which is indeed irrevocably broken 
up into an Infinite Time, itself assume this first mode, 

or this second mode, and so on ? Certainly not : this 

Being is, in and through itself, perfectly undetermined 
and wholly indifferent with regard to these modes of its 
acceptation. In this relation, Reality proceeds only the 
length of Possibility, not further. It thus assumes, by 
means of its Ex-istence, the existence of a Freedom 
and Independence in the mode of its acceptation, or in 
the way in which it is reflected/ wholly independent of 
itself in its inward Essential Nature. And now to ex 
press the same thing more strictly : The Absolute 
Being, in this its Ex-istence, regards itself as this Ab 
solute Freedom and Independence in the mode of its 
own acceptation, and as this Independence of its own 
inward Being ; it does not create a Freedom external 
to itself, but it is itself, in this portion of Form, its own 
Freedom external to itself; and in this respect, the self 
in its Ex-istence is separated from the self in its Being, 
and is projected, as it were, out of itself, in order to re 
turn again to itself as a living Ex-istence. Now, the uni 
versal form of Reflexion is Ego ; hence we have here 
a free and independent Ego; or, what is the same 
thing, an Ego, and that which alone is an Ego, a free 
and independent Ego, belongs to Absolute Form=j5, and 
is the peculiar organic central-point of the Absolute 
Form of Absolute Being ; since even that division into 
an Infinite Manifold which we placed by the side of this 
second portion of Form, is, according to our own deduc 
tion, founded upon the independence of the Form of 
Reflexion ; and, according to the above remarks, is in 
separable from the inward necessity of the Divine Na- 


ture, so that it cannot be cast off even by God himself. 

It is convenient, in passing, to note the following prin 
ciples : (1.) Freedom certainly and truly exists, and is it 
self the very root of Ex-istence : but yet it is not imme 
diately real, for in it Reality proceeds only the length of 
Possibility. The paradox apparently contained in this 
latter principle will be solved of itself as we proceed in 
our inquiry. (2.) Freedom, in Time, and as an inde 
pendent, self-determining fulfilment of Time, exists only 
in relation to the five standpoints of Spiritual Life 
which we have set forth, and only in so far as it arises 
out of these : but it does not exist outside that five 
fold division, for beyond that there is nothing but the 
inwardly determined Absolute Being, in the likewise un 
changeably determined Form of Infinity and of Time 
immediately filled by Reality itself; nor does it exist 
within that division, the Ego being then established in 
one of these points, for, here again, there is nothing 
but strict necessity and sequence from principle. 

This in passing, on account of its importance in an 
other connexion, and also because it does not seem to be 
very well understood. Not however in passing, but as- 
belonging essentially to our present subject, we add the 
following, to which I must anew demand your attention : 
(1.) Since this Independence and Freedom of the Ego 
belongs to its essential Being, and all Being has its 
Affection (Affect) in Consciousness, there must neces 
sarily exist, in so far as there is an immediate Con 
sciousness of personal, individual Freedom, an Affection 
for such Independence, the Love of it, and consequent 
Faith in it. In so far as there is such an immediate 
Consciousness of personal, individual Freedom, I say : 
for (2.) and this is the chief object of our whole in 
quiry, and the true end of all that has gone before, 
and therefore I beg of you to note it well, this Free 
dom and Independence is nothing but the mere possibi- 


lity of the Standpoint of Life ; this possibility, however, is 
limited to the five modes already pointed out, and hence, 
if any one has completed the comprehension of Life 
according to this scheme, he has at the same time com 
pleted the round of possibility and passed into reality ; 
he has expended his power and exhausted his estate of 
Freedom, there is in the root of his Ex-istence no more 
Freedom remaining; but with the Being of Freedom 
there also necessarily disappears the Affection, the Love, 
and the Faith in this Freedom, doubtless to give place 
to a far holier Love and a far more bliss-giving Faith. 
So long as the Ego has yet to labour, by its own original 
self-activity, in moulding itself to the perfect Form of 
Reality, there indeed remains in it the impulse towards 
such self-activity, the unsatisfied impulse, as a salutary 
impelling spur, and the intimate self-consciousness of 
Freedom, which consciousness, in this position of the 
matter, is absolutely true and without delusion ; but 
when this self-discipline has been completed, then that 
consciousness, which would now certainly become decep 
tive, disappears; and henceforward Reality flows forth 
before it in the sole remaining and indestructible Form 
of Infinity. 

Thus, and I now announce this result as what may 
be understood by all, and not by the speculative portion 
of my audience only, thus the presence of an Affection, 
a Love, and a Faith in personal, individual Freedom on 
the one hand, and the absence of such Affection on the 
other, are the fundamental points of two entirely oppo 
site modes of viewing and enjoying the World, into which 
I shall now combine more strictly our previous five-fold 

In the first place, with regard to the condition of the 
Presence of the Affection for personal, individual Freedom : 
this again has two different forms, (you will observe 
that this is a subordinate division in the first section of 

t 5 


the principal division) the first and lower of which I 
thus explain to you. The Ego, as the subject of this 
Freedom, is, as you know, Reflexion. This, as you also 
know, in its first function, forms, determines, and cha 
racterizes the World. Within these forms, and in the 
exercise of this formative function, the particular Ego 
here to be described by us is a proper and independent 
Being ; and this, its determinate Being, it on that very 
account, embraces with Love ; and thus acquires an im 
pulse towards, and a need of, this determinate Being. 
Again : What kind of Being is this ? Being in a deter 
minate Form of its Life. Whence the need of this 
Form ? From its self-love in this standpoint of its Free 
dom. If the need were satisfied, what would be the 
result ? Enjoyment. Whence would this Enjoyment 
arise ? From a certain modification of its Life by means 
of the World which it has itself formed, that is, of the 
objective, divided, and manifold World. Herein lies the 
foundation of the sensuous instinct of man, and this is 
the true creator of the World of Sense. Thus there 
arises the desire and need of a certain and determinate 
Form of our Life this is the important point, the cha 
racteristic feature, to which I entreat your attention, 
the impulse towards Happiness in determinate, and by 
means of determinate, objects. That the objective deter 
mination of this impulse towards Happiness is not with 
out foundation, but rests upon the Reality still remaining 
in this Form of Independence, is understood : as also 
this, that since, in this Form of the progressive devel 
opment of the World, there is an uninterrupted course 
of change, the Ego itself likewise unceasingly becomes 
changed ; and, on that account, that also in which it is 
compelled to place its Happiness gradually changes ; and 
in the course of this change the first objects of desire 
are set aside, and others take their place. From this 
absolute uncertainty respecting the particular object in 


which the source of Happiness is to be found a concep 
hon is at last arrived at, in this respect completely empty 
and indefiDite,-but which yet retains this fundamental 
characteristic, that Happiness is to arise from some de 
terminate object; the conception of a Life in which all 
our wants, whatever they may be, are to be satisfied upon 
the spot, an absence of all grief, all weariness, and all 
toil, the Islands of the Blessed and the Elysian Fields 
of the Greeks, the Abraham s bosom of the Jews, the 
Heaven of the ordinary Christians. At this stage the 
Freedom and Independence are material The second 
mode of the Presence of the Affection for personal, in- 
dividual Freedom and Independence is that in which the 
feeling and love of this Freedom is only general, and 
therefore bare, empty, and formal, without any definite 
object ^ being thereby either proposed or striven after. 
This gives the standpoint of Legality described at the 
end of the last lecture, and which, recalling its better 
known name, we also called that of Stoicism. Here 
man regards himself as free, in general, for he assume/ 
that he has the power to refuse obedience to the Law; 
he consequently separates himself from, and places him 
self, as an independent power, over against the Law, or 
whatever may appear to him as Law. He cannot other 
wise comprehend and regard himself than as one who 
has it in his power to refuse obedience to the Law, I 
said. But, according to his likewise necessary view of 
things, he is bound to obey the Law and not follow his 
own inclination ; he therefore loses all claim to Hap- . 
piness, and, if his professed doctrine be actually living 
within him, he loses also the need of Happiness, and of 
a God who is the author and giver of Happiness. But 
through that first supposition of his ability to refuse 
obedience, there also arises to him, for the first time, a 
Law ; for his Freedom, bereft of inclination, is now 
empty and without aim. He must once more control it ; 


and constraint upon Freedom, or Law, is one and the 
same thing. Hence it is only through that Faith in 
Freedom, which still remains after the surrender of in 
clination, that he makes a Law possible for himself, and 
gives to his view of true Reality the form of a Law. 

Comprehend this profoundly, and therefore fully and 
clearly, thus : (1.) The Divine Nature does not enter, 
whole and undivided, into these reciprocally exclusive 
points of Freedom, but it enters them partially only : 
beyond these points, however, it reveals itself, uncon 
cealed by any veil whatever (every such veil having its 
foundation only in these points), such as it is in itself, 
in an infinitely progressive development and Manifesta 
tion in this Form of eternal, progressive Life which is 
inseparable from its pure, internal Life. This eternal 
forth-flowing of the Divine Life is the true, innermost 
and deepest root of Ex-istence, the absolutely indisso 
luble union of Essence with Form which we have referred 
to above. This Being of Ex-istence, like all other Being, 
obviously carries with it the Affection of itself; it is the 
abiding, eternal, and unchangeable Will of the Absolute 
Reality thus continuously to develop itself, as it neces 
sarily must develop itself. (2.) So long as any Ego 
whatever occupies any one of the points of Freedom, he 
has still a personal, individual Being, which is a partial 
and imperfect Ex-istence of the Divine Ex-istence, and 
hence really a negation of Being ; and such an Ego has 
also an affection for this Being, and an abiding and 
unchangeable will to maintain this his Ex-istence. This 
his actual will, ever present with him, is hence by no 
means identical with the abiding Affection and Will of 
the perfect Divine Ex-istence. (3.) Should an Ego, 
occupying this standpoint, be nevertheless capable of 
willing in conformity with that Eternal Will, yet could 
this never come to pass by means of his mere passive 
will, but this Ego must first make the Eternal Will his 



own by means of a third intervening volition, usually 
called a determination of the Will Exactly in this case 
stands the votary of Law; and he becomes so just because 
he stands in this case. Since he professes,-and this is 
the peculiar root of his whole mode of thought, and that 
whereby we must comprehend bim,-since he professes 
that he is also able to refuse obedience, which (since 
we have nothing to do here with mere physical power 
the dependence of which upon will we must assume), is 
obviously equivalent to saying that he also has it in his 
power to will such disobedience, to which assertion, as 
the immediate expression of his self-consciousness, we 
must doubtless accord faith, this profession is equivalent 
to saying that it is not his predominant and ever-present 
will to obey ; -for who can act contrary to his own will, 
and who can think in opposition to his own ever-present 
and continually active will ? Not that he is disinclined 
to obedience ; for then another, and indeed sensuous 
desire would necessarily bear sway in him, which is con 
trary to the supposition, since he would then not be even 
a moral being, but would require to be maintained in 

order and discipline by means of outward compulsion ; 

but only that he is not positively inclined to it, and occu 
pies a position of mere indifference. In consequence of 
this indifference of his own actually present will, does 
that other Will become to him a foreign behest, which he 
at first regards as a Law to his own naturally inactive 
will ; and to the fulfilment of which he must first pro 
duce in himself the will that is naturally awanting, by 
means of a positive determination. And thus, the in 
difference towards the Eternal Will, which still remains 
after actual renunciation of the Sensuous Will, is the 
source of a Categorical Imperative within us; as the 
faith which we still retain in our own, at least formal, 
Independence, is the source of that indifference. 

Just as this faith disappears by means of the highest 


crowning act of Freedom, does the previously existing 
Ego likewise disappear in the pure Divine Ex-istence ; 
and we can no longer say, strictly speaking, that the 
Affection, the Love, and the Will of this Divine Ex-ist 
ence is ours, since there are no longer two Ex-istences 
and two Wills ; but now one Ex-istence, and one and the 
same Will, is all in all. So long as man cherishes the 
desire of being himself something, God comes not to 
him, for no man can become God. But so soon as he 
renounces himself sincerely, wholly, and radically, then 
God alone remains, and is all in all. Man can create 
no God for himself; but he can renounce himself as the 
proper negation, and then he is wholly absorbed in God. 

This self-renunciation is the entrance into the Higher 
Life which is wholly opposed to the lower life, the lat 
ter taking its distinctive character from the existence of 
a self ; and it is, according to our former mode of compu 
tation, the attainment of the Third standpoint in the 
view of the World; that of the pure and HIGHER 

The peculiar and essential nature of this Morality, and 
of the Blessedness which dwells in the central-point of 
this world, we shall describe in our next lecture. At 
present we shall only point out the relation of this 
standpoint to the lower and sensuous world. I hope that 
I have already laid my foundation so deep, that I shall 
not fail of success in my subsidiary purpose of taking 
away all possible subterfuge from the common practice of 
confounding together Blessedness and Happiness. This 
mode of thought, which, when a more earnest sentiment 
conies over it, would rather not have said what it is yet 
continually saying, loves much a charitable twilight, and 
a certain indefmiteness of conception ; and it is therefore 
the more desirable to drag it forth into clear light, and 
to separate ourselves from it with the strictest precision. 
Its supporters would indeed willingly accommodate the 



matter -we know it well,-they do not wish to cast 
aside the spirit altogether,- we are not so unjust as to 
accuse them of that,-but neither will they give up aught 
of the flesh. We however neither will nor can accommo 
date the matter ; for these two things are utterly irrecon 
cilable, and he who would possess the one must renounce 
the other. 

The view of himself, as a person existing for his own 
sake and in a World of Sense, does indeed still remain 
for him who has attained the third standpoint; for this 
is a necessary and inevitable part of Form ; but the Love 
and Affection for it are here no longer felt. What is 
now to him this person, and all sensuous activity ? Ob 
viously, only means for the purpose of doing that which 
he himself wills and loves above all else, namely the 
Will of God manifesting itself in him; just as this per. 
sonahty is to the Stoic only the means of obeying the 
Law : and both are herein alike, and of equal value in 
our estimation. To the sensuous man, on the contrary, 
his personal sensuous Ex-istence is his ultimate and 
especial object, and everything else which he does or be 
lieves beyond it, is to him but the means for the fulfil 
ment of that object. 

It is wholly impossible, arid an absolute contradiction, 
that any one should love in two different directions, or 
hold two opposite purposes. The Love of God which we 
have described entirely extirpates personal Self-love. 
For only by the renunciation of the latter do we attain 
the former. Again, where personal Self-love is, there the 
Love of God is not ; for the latter suffers no other Love 
beside it. 

This, as we have formerly observed, is the fundamental 
{character of sensuous Self-love, that it requires a Life 
fashioned in a particular way, and seeks its Happiness 
in a particular object ; while, on the contrary, the Love 
of God regards every form of Life and all objects but as 


means; and knows that all that is is the proper and 
necessary means ; and therefore never desires any object 
determined in this or that particular way, but accepts 
all as they present themselves. 

"What then would the sensuous man who requires an 
objective enjoyment do, were he indeed a man, and con 
sistent ? I should think that, relying upon himself alone, 
he would exert all his strength to gather around him the 
objects of his enjoyment; enjoy what he had, and be 
content to do without that which was beyond his reach. 
But what happens to him, if he be also a superstitious 
child ? He persuades himself that the objects of his en 
joyment are in the gift of a God who will indeed grant 
tli em to him, but who for this service demands some 
thing from him in exchange : he alleges that there has 
been a covenant made with him on the subject ; he 
adduces a collection of writings as the voucher of this 
pretended covenant. 

When he fully accepts this idea, how is it then with 
him ? Enjoyment still remains his especial object, and 
his duty to his imagined God only the means for the 
attainment of this object. This must be confessed, 
there is no escaping it. It will not do to say, as is 
frequently said : " I desire that the Will of God be done 
for its own sake ; I wish Happiness only by the way" 
Setting aside for a moment thy " by the way" thou yet 
admittest that thou wishest Happiness because it is 
Happiness ; and because thou believest that, having it, 
it will be well with thee ; and because thou wouldst will 
ingly have it well with thee. But then thou certainly 
dost not desire that the Will of God be done for its own 
sake alone ; for then thou couldst not desire Happiness, 
since the first desire supersedes and destroys the second ; 
and it is absolutely impossible that that which is de 
stroyed can exist beside, and be associated with, its de 
stroyer. Dost thou also wish, as thou sayest, that the 


Will of God be done ? then thou canst wish this only 
because thou believest that thou canst not otherwise ob 
tain that which thou especially desirest, namely Happi 
ness ; and because this wish is imposed upon thee by 
the desire by which thou art more especially animated ; 
thou wishest therefore the Will of God only " ~by the 
way" and because thou art constrained to do so ; but 
from the bottom of thy heart, and with thy own good 
will, thou wishest only for Happiness. 

It is nothing to the purpose that this Happiness is re 
moved far from immediate sight, and even placed in 
another world beyond the grave, where it is thought 
that it may be possible to confound the two ideas with 
less trouble. Whatever you may say with regard to this 
your Heaven, or rather whatever you may not say, in 
order that your true meaning may not come to light, 
yet the single circumstance that you make it dependent 
upon Time, and place it in another world, proves alread} r 
incontrovertibly that it is a Heaven of sensuous enjoy 
ment. Here Heaven is not, you say; but yonder it 
shall be. I pray you, What then is that which can be 
different yonder from what it is here ? Obviously, only 
the objective constitution of the world, as the environ 
ment of our existence. It must therefore, according to 
your opinion, be the objective constitution of the present 
world which makes it unfit for a Heaven, and the objec 
tive constitution of the future world which makes it fit 
for that purpose; and thus you cannot any longer con 
ceal that your Happiness depends upon outward circum 
stances and therefore is a sensuous enjoyment. Did you 
seek your Blessedness there where alone it is to be found, 
solely in God and in his Manifestation, but by no means 
in the mere casual Form in which he is manifested, 
then would you not need to refer yourselves to another 
Life, for God is even now to-day, as he shall be in all 
Eternity. I assure you, and remember my words when 

Jc b 


it shall come to pass, just as, in the second Life to 
which you may have attained, you will again make your 
Happiness dependent on outward circumstances, you shall 
fare just as ill there as you do here ; and you will then 
console yourselves with a third Life, and in the third 
with a fourth, and so on for ever; for God neither can 
nor will confer Blessedness by means of outward circum 
stances, since he desires, on the contrary, to give us Him 
self independent of all Form. 

In a word: this mode of thought, thrown into the form 
of a prayer, would thus express itself : " Lord ! let but 
my will be done, and that throughout an Eternity which 
on that account shall be blessed; and in return thou 
shalt have Thy Will in this short and wearisome present 
Time." And this is manifest immorality, senseless super 
stition, irreligion, and actual blasphemy of the holy and 
bliss-giving Will of God. 

On the contrary, the expression of the constant mind 
of the truly Moral and Religious Man is this prayer : 
" Lord ! let but Thy Will be done, then is mine done 
also, for I have no other will than this, that Thy Will 
be done." This Divine Will is necessarily done now 
and for ever ; in the first place, in the Inward Life of 
this man thus devoted to it, of which in our next 
lecture ; and then what immediately belongs to our 
present subject in everything that meets him in his 
Outward Life. All these events are nothing else than 
the necessary and unalterable Outward Manifestation of 
the Divine Work fulfilling itself in him ; and he cannot 
wish that anything in these events should be otherwise 
than what it is, without wishing that the Inward Life, 
which can only thus manifest itself, should be otherwise, 
and without thereby separating his will from the Will 
of God, and setting it in opposition thereto. He cannot 
any longer reserve to himself a choice in these things, 
for he must accept everything just as it happens ; for 


everything that comes to pass is the Will of God with 
him and therefore the best that can possibly come to 
pass To those who love God, all things must work 
together for good, absolutely and immediately. 

To those also, in whom the Will of God is not inwardly 
accomplished, because there is indeed no Inward Life in 
them, but who are altogether mere outward tiling -to 
them also the Will of God is done outwardly, as alone it 
can reach them ; appearing at first sight ungracious and 
chastening, but in reality in the highest degree merciful 
and loving ;-while with them matters grow worse and 
worse, and they weary themselves out, and even render 
themselves despicable and ridiculous, in the vain chase 
after a good which ever floats before their vision and 
ever eludes their grasp, until they are thereby at last 
driven to seek for Happiness there where alone it is to 
be found. To those who do not love God, all things must 
work together immediately for pain and torment, until, 
indirectly by means of this very torment, they are at last 
led to salvation. 

For an account of a remarkable incident connected with this passage, 
see "Memoir" p. 140. 

( 445 ) 



THE following were the results of our last lecture, and in 
dicate the point at which we now stand : So long as 
man still desires to be something on his own account, 
the True Being and Life cannot develop itself within 
him, and hence he likewise remains inaccessible to 
Blessedness; for all personal, individual Being is but 
Non-Being, and limitation of the True Being ; and, on 
that very account, is either obvious Unblessedness, as 
in the case of the first standpoint, that of mere Sensuous- 
ness, which looks to outward objects only for its enjoy 
ment, whereas no outward object can possibly satisfy 
man ; _ or else, if not actual Unblessedness, yet just as 
little Blessedness, but only mere Apathy, passive indif 
ference, and absolute incapacity for all enjoyment of Life, 
as in the case of the second standpoint, that of mere 
formal Legality. On the contrary, as soon as man, by 
an act of the Highest Freedom, surrenders and lays aside 
his personal, individual freedom and independence, he 
becomes a partaker of the Only True Being, the Divine, 


and of all the Blessedness that is contained therein. We 
showed, in the first place,- in order to separate ourselves 
distinctly from the opposite sensuous mode of thought, 
and to lay this aside once and for ever, how such an 
one, who has attained the True Life, looks upon the out 
ward and sensuous Life ; and Ave found that he regards 
his whole personal Ex-istence, and all outward occur 
rences that affect it, but as means for the fulfilment of 
the Divine Work in him ; and indeed all of them as 
they occur as necessarily the best and most suitable 
means ; and hence he desires to possess no voice or choice 
whatever with regard to the objective disposition of 
these occurrences, but accepts them all as they present 
themselves. On the other hand, we reserved for our 
present lecture, the description of the inward and peculiar 
Life of such a man : which description we now begin. 

I have already shown, on a former occasion, that the 
Third standpoint of the Spiritual Life, which undoubt 
edly is that at which we have now arrived, that, namely, 
of the HIGHER MORALITY, is distinguished from the sec 
ond, that of mere formal Legality, by the creation of a 
wholly new and truly Super-sensuous World, and by the 
development of this world within the world of sense as its 
sphere ; while, on the contrary, the Law of Stoicism is only 
the Law of an order in the world of sense. It is this as 
sertion that I have, in the next place, to establish on a 
deeper foundation, and thus more clearly explain and 
more strictly define it. 

> On this standpoint, the whole sensible world, the exis- 
\ tence of which is assumed only because of our love and 
iaffection for a determinate Ex-istence in outward objects, 
becomes only a means ; but unquestionably not a means 
for nothing, upon which supposition it would not be a 
means, since besides itself there would then be nothing, 
and it would consequently remain for ever an end, as sole 
and absolute Ex-istence, but it becomes undoubtedly a 



means for an actual, true, and real Being. What is this 
Being ? We know it from what has been said above 
It is the inward Essential Being of God himself, as it 
is absolutely, in itself and through itself, immediately 
purely, and without intervening medium, without being 
modified, veiled, or obscured by any Form contained in 
the personality of the Ego, which is on that account ob 
structive and limiting ; but broken only by the inde 
structible Form of Infinity. Since this Being is deter 
mined only, on the one hand, by the Essential Divine 
Nature, which is founded absolutely on itself alone, and, 
on the other, by the Form of Infinity, which, in Actual 
Ex-istence, can never be dissolved or brought to a conclus 
ion, as we have very distinctly set forth in our last 
lecture, it is clear that we cannot by any means compre 
hend mediately, through any other conception, and thus a 
priori, how this Being will disclose itself; but that it can 
only be immediately perceived and experienced, and only 
apprehended in the act of its living forth-flowing from 
Being into Ex-istence ; so that the specific knowledge of 
this new and Super-sensuous World cannot be communi 
cated, by means of description and characterization, to 
those who do not themselves live therein. He who is 
inspired of God reveals to us how it is ; and it is as 
he reveals it, just for this reason because He so reveals 
it ; but without such inward revelation no man can speak 
of it. 

In general, however, and by means of an outward and 
merely negative mark, this Divine World may be charac 
terized ; and that in the following way : All Being carries 
with it its proper Love and Affection, and so also the im 
mediate Divine Being which is manifested in the Form of 
Infinity. Now this Being is such as it is, not through 
anything else, or for the sake of anything else, but through 
itself, and for its own sake alone ; and when it appears 
and is beloved, then it must necessarily be beloved and 


enjoyed through itself alone, purely and solely on its own 
account ; but by no means on account of something else, 
and thus only as a means for this other thing, which 
would then become the ultimate end of its being. And 
thus we have found the desiderated outward criterion 
of the Divine World, whereby it is completely separated 
from the World of Sense. Whatever is a source of enjoy 
ment in itself, and indeed of the highest degree of enjoy 
ment, infinitely transcending all other degrees, is a 
Manifestation of the immediate and essential Divine Na 
ture in Reality. We may even describe it as the most 
perfect phenomenon of each particular moment, under 
the given conditions of Time ; provided we do not un 
derstand thereby such a perfection as is given by means 
of a mere logical conception, which contains nothing more 
than the order and completeness of the Manifold, but 
on the contrary, a perfection given through an immediate 
affection towards a determinate Being. 

Thus much as to the possible characterization of the New 
World created by the Higher Morality within the World 
of Sense. Should you desire of me yet greater clearness 
on this point, you will doubtless not expect that I should 
attempt a clearer characterization, for I think that in this 
way nothing can be added to what we have already said, 
but you will require from me examples. Willingly indeed 
shall I satisfy this desire, finding myself in these regions 
so concealed from the vulgar eye ; reminding you, never 
theless, that I can here adduce only individual examples, 
which cannot of themselves exhaust that which can be 
exhausted only in characterization, and which we have al 
ready so exhausted ; examples which themselves can only 
be fully comprehended by means of such characterization. 

I say : The inward and absolute Nature of God mani 
fests itself in BEAUTY; it manifests itself in the perfect 
DOMINION of MAN over NATURE ; it manifests itself in the 
perfect STATE and POLITY of NATIONS ; it manifests itself 


in SCIENCE ; in short, it manifests itself in those concep 
tions which, in the strict and peculiar sense, I term IDEAS, 
and to which I have directed attention in many ways, 
both in the lectures which I delivered here last winter,* and 
in others which have some time ago appeared in print. f 
In order to explain my fundamental conception by means 
of the lowest form of the Idea, concerning which we may 
venture to hope that we shall be able at once to attain 
the requisite clearness namely Beauty : There is much 
talk of the splendours of the surrounding world, of the 
beauties of nature, &c. ; as if, were it intended that we 
should accept these words in their literal acceptation, 
as if Beauty could ever appertain to the Earthly and 
Perishable, or could be transferred to these. But the 
source of Beauty is in God alone, and it reveals itself only 
in the minds of those who are inspired by Him. Imagine, 
for example, a Holy Virgin who, borne up into the clouds 
and encircled by the heavenly hosts who fall down before 
her presence in rapt contemplation, surrounded by all the 
splendours of a Heaven of which she herself is the highest 
ornament and delight, can yet alone of those present see 
nothing of all that takes place around her, being wholly 
overwhelmed and lost in this one feeling : " Behold the 
handmaiden of the Lord : be it unto me according to thy 
word ;" clothe this feeling, thus surrounded, in a human 
body, and then unquestionably you have Beauty in a de 
terminate Form. Now what is it that makes this Form 
beautiful ? Is it the separate parts and members of which 
it is composed ? Is it not much rather the one feeling 
which is diffused throughout all these members ? The 
Form is superadded, only because in it, and by means of 
it, the Thought becomes visible ; and it is transferred by 
means of lines and colours to the canvas, because thus 

* " Characteristics of the Present Age." 
f " On the Nature of the Scholar and its Manifestations." 

I I 


only can it be communicated to others. Perhaps this 
Thought might also have been expressed in hard and 
senseless stone, or in any other material. Would then the 
stone thereby become beautiful ? The stone ever remains 
stone, and is wholly unsusceptible of such a predicate ; 
but the soul of the Artist was beautiful when he con 
ceived his work, and the soul of every intelligent beholder 
in whom the conception is repeated will likewise become 
beautiful ; the stone ever remains only that which fixes 
the limits of the outward perception during this inward 
spiritual development. 

This ideal Being and the creative Affection of it, as a 
mere natural phenomenon, manifests itself generally as 
GENIUS for Art, for Government, for Science, &c. It is 
understood, of course, and to every one who has any ex 
perience whatever in matters of this kind it is by means 
of this very experience sufficiently known, that since 
the natural affection for such creations of Genius is the 
very foundation of the Life of Genius in which all its 
other life is swallowed up, I say, it is understood that 
true Genius does not require to stimulate and urge 
itself on to industry in its Art or in its Science by any 
Categorical Imperative, but that all its powers, of their 
own accord, direct themselves towards this its all-engross 
ing object ; further, that, so surely as any one possesses 
True Genius, his work always prospers well, and the 
products of his labour are always pleasing to him, and 
thus he is ever surrounded, inwardly and outwardly, by 
the Beautiful and Agreeable ; that, finally, he does not 
employ this Activity for the attainment of any object 
whatever beyond itself, nor will accept aught in ex 
change for it ; but, on the contrary, no earthly consider 
ation would induce him to leave undone what he alone 
may do, or to do it otherwise than as seems right and 
pleasing to himself; that he consequently finds his true 
and satisfying Enjoyment of Life only in such work, 


purely and solely as work, and for the work s sake ; and 
whatever of the external world he may accept besides 
does not of itself engross his thoughts, but he accepts 
it only in order that, renewed and strengthened by it, 
he may return to his own true element. And thus 
mere natural Genius soars far above both the low de 
sires of the Sensualist and the callous indifferentism of 
the Stoic, and carries its possessor through an unin 
terrupted succession of blissful experiences, for which he 
needs nothing beyond himself, and which, without pain 
ful effort or labour on his part, blossom forth spontane 
ously out of his Life. The Enjoyment of a single hour 
passed happily in the pursuit of Art or of Science far 
outweighs a whole lifetime of Sensuous Enjoyment; 
and before the picture of this Blessedness, the mere 
Sensuous Man, could it but be brought home to him, 
would sink in envy and longing desire. 

In the illustration AVC have thus adduced, we have as 
sumed a natural Genius as the peculiar source and root 
of the Spiritual Enjoyment of Life, as well as of the 
scorn of mere Sensuous Enjoyment ; and I have desired, 
by means of this single example of the Higher Mo 
rality and its Blessedness, to lead you to a more univer 
sal conception of it. But this Genius, notwithstand 
ing that its object is in itself truly super-sensuous, and 
the pure expression of the Godhead, as we showed in 
particular by the example of the Beautiful, does yet 
desire, and must desire, that its Spiritual Object should 
receive a certain representative form and clothing in the 
World of Sense ; and thus Genius does also desire, in a 
certain sense, such a determinate Form of its World and 
its environment as in our previous lecture we uncon 
ditionally censured and condemned in the case of Sen- 
suousness; and if the self-enjoyment of Genius were 
dependent on the accidental realization or non-realization 
of this outward result as the aim of its efforts, then 


would the peace and tranquillity of Genius itself be at 
an end ; and the Higher Morality would be exposed to 
all the miseries of the lower Sensuousness. But, so far 
as Genius is concerned, so surely as it is Genius, it will 
assuredly succeed in the expression and representation of 
its Idea in the appropriate medium. Its desired Form 
and environment can therefore never be awanting ; while 
nevertheless it is the Activity with which it produces 
this Form which is the true seat of its immediate en 
joyment. To this the Form itself only contributes in 
directly, because in it only does the Activity become ap 
parent ; which is obvious from the fact that True Genius 
never lingers long over anything it has already attained, 
nor dwells in voluptuous enjoyment of it, and of itself 
in it, but proceeds onward without delay to new develop 
ments. In general, however, apart from particular Genius, 
and with reference to all possible Life in which the 
Divine Being manifests itself purely, I lay down the 
following principle : So long as joy in the deed is 
mixed up with desires regarding the outward result of 
the deed, even the possessor of the Higher Morality is 
not yet perfect in purity and clearness; and thus, in the 
Divine Economy, the outward failure of his deed is the 
means of forcing him in upon himself, and of raising 
him to the yet higher standpoint of True Religion, 
that is, to the comprehension of what it really is that 
he loves and strives after. Understand this as a whole, 
and in its connexion, thus : 

(1.) The Free Ego, deduced and described with suffi 
cient distinctness in our previous lecture, and which, as 
Reflexion, ever remains one and the same, does yet, as 
Object that is, as the reflecting substance that exists 
only in Appearance become divided, at the first glance 
into an Infinity, but also, for a reason that lies too deep 
to be treated of in these lectures, into a progressive 
system of Individual Personalities. (This separation is 


a portion of that division of the objective world into the 
Form of Infinity which we have already sufficiently de 
scribed upon several occasions ; and thus belongs to the 
absolutely fundamental Form of Ex-istence which cannot 
be cast off even by the Godhead itself : As Being ori 
ginally separated itself in this division, so it remains 
separated in all Eternity ; and hence no Individual hav 
ing a place in this division that is, no Individual who 
has come into Actual Ex-istence, can ever perish ; this 
is to be noticed only in passing, and in opposition to 
those among our contemporaries, who by means of a 
half-philosophy and whole-bewilderment esteem them 
selves enlightened when they deny the continued Ex 
istence in higher spheres of the Individuals actually 
existing here.) In them, in these Individual Personalities 
thus arising from the fundamental Form of Ex-istence, 
the entire Divine Being is separated into an infinite 
progressive development in Time, and is, as it were, 
divided among them, according to the Absolute Law of 
such a division, which is founded in the Essential Divine 
Nature itself; whilst, further, every one of these Indi 
viduals, as a section of the One Ego determined by its 
own essential Form, necessarily bears this latter Form in 
its entirety, that is, as we said in our last lecture, it is 
free and independent in relation to the five standpoints. 
Each Individual has therefore in his own free choice, 
which cannot be taken away from him even by the Di 
vinity himself, the possibility of viewing and of enjoying 
from any of these five standpoints that portion in the Ab 
solute Being which is characteristic of him as an Actual 
Individual. Thus has each Individual, in the first place, 
his determinate portion in the Sensuous Life, and in its 
Love; which Life will appear to him as the ultimate 
and absolute end and purpose of his Being, so long as 
this freedom, which is discovered only by its actual use, 
is wholly engrossed therein. But if he should rise, per- 


haps through the sphere of Legality, to that of the 
Higher Morality, then will that Sensuous Life become to 
him but a means; and his portion in the Higher, Super- 
sensuous, and immediately Divine Life, will reveal itself to 
his Love. Every one without exception necessarily re 
ceives, by his mere entrance into Actual Ex-istence, his 
portion in this Super-sensuous Being ; for otherwise he 
would be no result of that division of the Absolute 
Being, according to its own Essential Law, without which 
there is no Actual Ex-istence, and he would not other 
wise even have become actual ; but to every one without 
exception, there is nevertheless the possibility of this 
Super-sensuous Being remaining concealed, should he fail 
to renounce his Sensuous Being and its objective inde 
pendence. Every one without exception, I say, receives 
that portion in the Super-sensuous Being which is ex 
clusively his own, and which belongs in the same manner 
to no other Individual whatever but himself; which por 
tion now develops itself in him in all Eternity, mani 
festing itself as a continuous course of action, in such a 
form as it can assume in absolutely no other Individual; 
and this, in short, may be called the individual character 
of his Higher Vocation. Not that the Essential Divine 
Nature is divided in itself; in all men, without ex 
ception, the one and unchangeable Divine Nature, as it 
is in itself, is present; and if they can but attain True 
Freedom, may also appear in actual manifestation ; but 
this Nature manifests itself in each Individual in a 
different Form, peculiar to himself. (Let Being, as we 
have already supposed, be = A, and Form = B ; then A> 
which has absolutely entered into B, divides itself by this 
very act of entrance, not according to its Essential Nature 
but according to its Absolute Form in Eeflexion, into 
(b-{-b-\-b . . .) = a System of Individuals: and each in 
dividual 6 contains in itself (1.) the whole and indi 
visible A, (2.) the whole and indivisible B, (3.) ,its own 


particular I y and the same with all the other results of 
A throughout (I + b + b . . . .) 

(2.) No one can discover, by means of mere thought 
alone, this his peculiar portion in the Super-sensuous 
Being ; nor can he deduce it by way of inference from 
any other truth ; nor can he be made acquainted with 
it through any other individual, since this portion cannot 
be known to any other individual ; but he can attain a 
knowledge of it only by immediate personal conscious 
ness ; and his Being must necessarily and spontaneously 
assume this Form so soon as he has surrendered and 
wholly annihilated all personal will and personal purposes 
within him. Hence it is clear, in the first place, that 
with respect to this, which only each man can clearly 
comprehend for himself in his own immediate conscious 
ness, it is impossible to speak in general terms, and that 
I must here necessarily stop short. And what end, in 
deed, could here be served by speech, even were speech 
possible ? He to whom his especial Higher Vocation 
has revealed itself knows it as it is revealed to him ; and 
he may conclude by analogy how it is with others to 
whom their Higher Vocation has also become clear and 
intelligible. But as for him to whom it has not revealed 
itself, to him no information on this subject can be com 
municated ; it serves no purpose to speak of colours to 
the blind. 

Has this peculiar Vocation revealed itself to him ? 

then does it penetrate him with unspeakable Love, and 
with the purest Enjoyment ; penetrates him wholly, and 
takes possession of all his Life. And thus it is the very 
first act of the Higher Morality, which must infallibly 
ensue so soon as the mero personal will has been re 
signed, that man becomes wholly penetrated with his 
own especial Vocation, and desires to be nothing what 
ever but that which he, and only he, can be ; which he, 
and only he, in virtue of his Higher Nature, that is, of 


the Divine Nature in him, ought to be ; in short, that 
he desires nothing whatever but that which, at bottom, 
he actually wills. How could such a man ever do any 
thing with unwillingness, since he never does anything 
else but that in which he has the highest delight ? 
What I said above of natural Genius, is even still more 
applicable to the Virtue which is born of perfect Free 
dom ; for this Virtue is the highest expression of Genius; 
it is the immediate power of Genius, i.e. of that Form 
which the Essential Divine Nature has assumed in our 
Individuality. On the contrary, the desire and effort to 
be something else than that to which we are called, how 
ever great and noble that other thing may seem, is the 
highest Immorality ; and all the constraint that man 
imposes upon himself for that purpose, and all the un- 
happineas that he consequently suffers, are themselves 
rebellions against the rule of the Divine Order, and re 
sistances of our will to the Divine. What is it then that 
has thus set up within us a purpose not imposed upon us 
by our Higher Nature, but personal will, personal choice, 
personal self-complacent wisdom ? and thus we are very 
far indeed from the renunciation of our own personal, in 
dividual will. This effort is necessarily the source of the 
greatest unhappiness. In this position we must con 
stantly enforce, constrain, urge, and deny ourselves ; for 
we can never do that willingly which, at bottom, we 
cannot will ; and we can never attain a successful issue, 
for we cannot accomplish that which our Nature itself 
forbids. This is the assumption of outward sanctity 
against which we are warned by Christianity. It may 
remove mountains, and even give its body to be burned, 
and yet that will profit it nothing if such be not the 
dictate of true Love, that is, if it be not the dictate of 
its own peculiar Spiritual Being which necessarily brings 
with it its own Affection. Strive to be we mean in su- 
persensuous things, for in mere sense there is no Blessed- 


ness strive to be what thou oughtst to be, what thou , 

canst be, and what at bottom thou really wiliest to be : ; 

this is the fundamental Law, as well of the Higher Mo 
rality as of the Blessed Life. 

(3.) This Higher Vocation of Man, which, as we said, 
penetrates him with complete and undivided Love, ex 
hibits itself indeed, in the first place, in his own con 
duct; but in the second place, and by means of that 
conduct, it likewise manifests itself in a determinate 
result in the World of Sense. So long as man does not 
recognise the true root and essential central-point of his 
Ex-istence, the two elements we have named, his own 
Inward Being and its Outward Result, remain undis 
tinguished. Something proves unsuccessful with him, 
the outward result at which he aims does not ensue, 
which indeed is not his fault, for he wills only what 
he can will, but that of outward circumstances which 
are not susceptible of his influence, and then his Love, 
which has still an uncertain object, is dissatisfied with this 
failure, and thereby his Blessedness is disturbed and de 
stroyed. This forces him more deeply in upon himself, 
in order that he may make it perfectly clear to himself 
what it really is that he strives after ; and what, on the 
contrary, it is that in deed and truth he does not strive 
after, but which is indifferent to him. In this self-ex 
amination he will discover what we have plainly enun 
ciated above, although he may not express it in the 
same words, namely, that it is the development of the 
Divine Being and Life in him, this particular individual, 
which he strives after especially and in the first place ; 
and thereby his whole Being and his true and proper 
Love will become perfectly clear to him, and he will be 
raised from the Third standpoint of the Higher Mo 
rality, in which we have hitherto retained him, to the 
Fourth that of RELIGION. This Divine Life now con 
tinually develops itself within him, without hindrance 

m b 


or obstruction, as it can and must develop itself only in 
him and his individuality ; this alone it is that he pro 
perly wills ; his will is therefore always accomplished ; 
and it is absolutely impossible that anything contrary 
to it should ever come to pass. This his proper Inward 
Life does indeed still desire constantly to flow forth in 
surrounding circumstances and to fashion these after it 
self, and only in this effort after outward expression does 
it show itself to be true Inward Life, and not mere dead 
devotion. But the result of this effort after outward 
expression does not depend on his own isolated indi 
vidual Life alone, but upon the general Freedom of 
other individuals besides himself : this Freedom God 
himself cannot wish to destroy, therefore neither can the 
man who is devoted to God, and who has attained a clear 
knowledge of God, neither can he wish that it should 
be destroyed. While, therefore, he certainly desires this 
outward result, and labours unceasingly and with all his 
power to effect it, because he cannot abstain from doing 
so, and because this is his own proper Inward Life, he 
yet does not will it absolutely and unconditionally; and 
it therefore would not, even for a single moment, dis 
turb his Peace and Blessedness should it nevertheless 
remain unaccomplished; his Love and his Blessedness 
return into his own proper Life, where they always, and 
without exception, find their true satisfaction. Thus 
much in general. Beyond this, the matters now touched 
upon demand a further exposition, which we reserve for 
our next lecture, in order that we may here reach a 
result which will spread a general light over the whole ; 
namely : 

(4.) Everything which this Moral-Religious Man wills 
and constantly promotes, has, in and for itself, no value 
whatever to him ; as indeed it has none in itself, and is 
not in itself the most perfect, but only that which is most 
perfect in this moment of Time, to be superseded in a 


Future Time by something still more perfect; but it 
has value for him only because it is the immediate 
Manifestation of God, the Form which God assumes in 
him, this definite individual. Now God also dwells 
originally, likewise in a peculiar Form, in all other sur 
rounding individuals, notwithstanding that he remains 
concealed from most of them in consequence of their 
personal, individual Will, and their want of the highest 
Freedom, and thus is not actually manifested either in 
themselves, or in their conduct towards others. In this 
position the Moral-Religious Man although with refer 
ence to himself he has entered upon his portion of True 
Being is, with reference to other individuals, separated 
and cut off from the constituent parts of Being which 
are related to him ; and there abides in him a sorrowful 
striving and longing to unite and associate himself with 
these kindred elements : not indeed that this longing 
disturbs his Blessedness, for this is the permanent lot 
of his Finite Being, and a part of his allegiance to God, 
to embrace which with Love is itself a portion of his 

For what then would this concealed Inward Being, were 
it manifested in the conduct of other individuals, for 
what would it possess a value in the estimation of our 
supposed Religious Man ? Obviously not for itself, 
since even his own nature has no value whatever to him 
in itself, but because it is the Manifestation of God in 
these individuals. Further, for what will he desire that 
this Manifestation should possess a value in the estima 
tion of these individuals themselves ? Obviously only 
that it may be recognized by them as the Manifestation 
of God in themselves. Finally, for what will he desire 
that his own conduct and effort should possess a value in 
the estimation of these individuals ? Obviously only 
that they may recognize in it the Manifestation of God 
in him. 


And thus we have now a general outward characteriza 
tion of the Moral-Religious Will, in so far as it comes 
forth from the Inward Life, which ever remains hidden 
in itself, into Outward Manifestation. In the first place, 
the object of this Will is ever only the Spiritual World 
of reasonable beings ; for the World of Sense has long 
ago with him been reduced to a mere sphere of spiritual 
activity. In this Spiritual World, his positive Will is 
this that in the conduct of each individual there may 
be manifested purely that Form which the Essential 
Divine Nature has assumed in him that particular in 
dividual ; that, on the other hand, each individual may 
.recognize God, as he is outwardly manifested to him in 
the conduct of all other men ; that all others may in 
like manner recognize God as he is outwardly mani 
fested to them in the conduct of that particular indi 
vidual; and that thus God alone may ever be wholly 
manifested in all Outward Appearance ; that He alone 
may live and rule, and nothing besides Him ; and that, 
everywhere and at all times, He alone may be present to 
the eye of mortals. 

Thus, as it is expressed by Christianity in the form of 
a prayer : " Thy kingdom come : even that condition 
of the world in which Thou alone art, and live st, and 
rulest, so that Thy will may be done on earth, in 
the Actual, by means of that Freedom which Thou 
Thyself wilt not take away, as it ever is done, and in 
deed never can be otherwise done, in heaven, in the 
Idea, in the world as it is in itself, and without relation 
to Freedom." 

For example : Yonder they complain that misery is 
so abundant in the world, and go about with a zeal, 
praiseworthy in itself, to make it somewhat less. Alas ! 
the misery that lies most open to view is not the true 
misery ; since things are as they are, misery is the best 
of all that is in the world; and since the world does 


not improve notwithstanding all this misery, one might 
almost believe that there is not yet enough of misery in 
it : that the image of God, Humanity, should be sullied, 
degraded, and trodden in the dust, this is the true 
misery in the world, which fills the Keligious Man with 
holy indignation. Perchance thou dost alleviate the 
sorrows of humanity, so far as thy hand can reach, by 
the sacrifice of thine own dearest enjoyments. But if 
this happen only because Nature has given thee a 
.system of nerves so sensitive, and so harmoniously at 
tuned with the rest of humanity, that every sorrow which 
thou beholdest repeats itself more keenly in thine own 
organization; then it is to this delicate organization 
that our thanks are due; in the Spiritual World thy 
-deed passes unnoticed. Hadst thou done the like deed 
in holy indignation that the Son of Eternity, in whom 
also there dwells something god-like, should be tor 
mented by such vanities as these, and should be left there 
so forsaken by his fellow-men ; with the desire that he 
might have at least one glad hour in which he might 
raise his eyes joyfully and thankfully to Heaven; \vith 
the purpose that in thy hand he might see the saving 
hand of God, and might know of a surety that the arm 
of God is not yet shortened, but that He has yet every 
where instruments and servants to do His will, and 
that thus Faith and Hope and Love might arise in his 
soul ; if thus what thou desiredst to help had been his 
Inward Nature, and not his Outward, which is ever with 
out true value ; then had thy deed been the outward 
expression of a Moral-Religious Spirit. 




Now that it is our purpose to bring these lectures to a 
close, let us once more combine into one view the doc 
trine which we have built up before you. 

Life in itself is One ; it remains unchangeably the 
same ; and since it is the perfect fulfilment of the Love 
of Life that dwells in it, it is perfect Blessedness. This 
True Life exists, at bottom, wherever any form or degree 
of Life is to be found ; but it may be concealed by an 
admixture of the elements of Death and Nothingness; 
and then, by means of pain and torment and mortifica 
tion of this imperfect Life, it presses onward towards its 
development. We have followed, step by step, this de 
velopment of the True Life out of the imperfect Ap 
parent Life by which it may at first be concealed; 
to-day it is our purpose to accompany this Life into the 
central-point of its dominion, and to invest it with all 
its glory. In our last lecture we characterized the high 
est Form of Actual Life that is since Eeality consists 
wholly in a Form of Reflexion, whilst the absolutely in 
destructible Form of Reflexion is Infinity that Life 


which flows forth in an Infinite Time, and employs the 
personal Ex-istence of Man as its instrument, and hence 
manifests itself as Action we have, I say, characterized 
this Life by the name of the HIGHER MORALITY. We 
were constrained to admit that, on account of the separ 
ation of the one Essential Divine Nature into many in 
dividuals a separation unalterably imposed by the law 
of Reflexion the activity of each particular individual 
cannot avoid striving after an outward result, not wholly 
dependent on the individual himself, in the surrounding 
world of Freedom; that nevertheless the Blessedness 
of such an individual will not be disturbed by the failure 
of this result, provided only that he raise himself to a 
true comprehension of that which he strives after un 
conditionally, as distinguished from that which he seeks 
only conditionally; which comprehension we termed 
the standpoint of TRUE RELIGION. With respect to this 
latter point especially, I referred you to our present 
lecture, in which I promised a more thorough exposition 
of this subject. 

I shall prepare the way for this exposition by a survey 
ofjiur whole subject from its profoundest standpoint. 

Being ex-ists; and the Ex-istence of Being is necessarily 
Consciousness, or Reflexion according to fixed laws which 
are contained in, and are to be developed from, Reflexion 
itself: this is the fundamental principle, now sufficiently 
explained on all sides, of our whole doctrine. It is Being 
alone that ex-ists, that " is" in Ex-istence, and by 
whose being in it alone Ex-istence is; that eternally 
abides in it as it is in itself, and without whose indwell 
ing within it Ex-istence would vanish into Nothingness: 
no one doubts this, and no one who understands it can 
doubt it. But in Ex-istence, as Ex-istence, i.e. in Re 
flexion, Being directly changes its absolutely incompre 
hensible Form, which can only be described as pure Life 
and Action, into an Essence or Nature a specific and 


definite mode of Being; so that we have never spoken 
of Being, and no one can ever speak of Being, otherwise 
than by speaking of its Essence or Nature. Although, 
therefore, our Being is ever in itself the Being of Being; 
and thus remains, and can never become other than this; 
yet that which we ourselves, and for ourselves, are, have, 
and possess, i.e. in the Form of ourselves, of the Ego, 
of Reflexion in Consciousness, this is never Being in 
itself, but only Being in our Form, as Essence or Nature. 
How then is this Being, which certainly does not enter 
into Form in all its native purity, how is it yet con 
nected with Form ? does it not thereby irrevocably 
project forth from itself, and set up beside itself, a 
second, wholly new Being, which new and second Being 
is altogether impossible ? Answer : Ask not for the 
"How;" be satisfied with the fact. They are con 
nected; there is such a bond, which, higher than all 
Reflexion, proceeding from no Reflexion, and not recog 
nizing the jurisdiction of Reflexion, yet appears beside, 
and indissolubly associated with, Reflexion. In this 
companionship with Reflexion, this bond is Feeling; 
and, since it is a bond, it is Love ; and, since it is the 
bond that unites Pure Being and Reflexion, it is the 
Love of God. In this Love, Being and Ex-istence, God 
and Man, are ONE ; wholly transfused and lost in each 
other ; it is the point of intersection of the A and B we 
have spoken of above ; the act of Being, in supporting 
and maintaining itself in Ex-istence, is its Love for it 
self, which we do not conceive of as Feeling only because 
we do not conceive of it at all. The Manifestation of 
this act of Being, in supporting and maintaining itself in 
Ex-istence, in companionship with Reflexion, that is, 
the Feeling of this act of Self-existence, is our Love 
towards it ; or, in strict truth, its own Love towards it 
self in the Form of Feeling; since we have no power to 
love it, but only itself has power to love itself in us. 



This not its, nor ours but this reciprocal Love, 
which first separates us into two, and then binds us to 
gether into one, is the original creator of our oft-men 
tioned abstract conception of a Pure Being, or a God. 
What is it that thus carries us beyond all determinate 
and comprehensible Ex-istence, and beyond the whole 
world of absolute Reflexion ? It is our Love which no 
Ex-istence can satisfy. Conception does here that only 
which it alone can do ; it defines and fashions this Love, 
by abstracting from its object, which only by its means 
becomes an object, everything that does not satisfy this 
Love ; leaving in it nothing but the pure negation of all 
conceivability associated with infinite and eternal love- 
ableness. What then is it that assures us of God but 
pure, self-sufficing Love, which is superior to all the 
doubt that is born of Reflexion, and is only possible 
therein ? and what makes this Love thus self-sufficient, 
but that it is the immediate self-supporting and self- 
maintaining Life of the Absolute itself ? Not Reflexion, 
which by virtue of its very nature divides itself into 
parts, and thus is ever at variance with itself; no, 
Love is the source of all certainty, all truth, all 

It is the conception of God, which has thus become a 
purely abstract conception, that gives shape and definition 
to this Love, we said. In its own immediate Life, on 
the contrary and I entreat you to note this well this 
Love is not thus defined and fashioned ; but it is, and 
it has and holds the object of its affection, not by any 
means in conception, which never overtakes it, but 
immediately in Love ; and that as it is in itself, because 
it is in truth nothing else than the self-supporting Life 
of Absolute Being. Now it is this substance and ma 
terial of Love, which Reflexion, in the first place, con 
verts into a permanent objective Essence or Nature; 
and then again divides, even to infinity, clothing it with 


new and ever-varied Forms ; and thus creates its World. 
I ask : What is it then that gives a true and proper 
fundamental substance to this World, the Nature and 
Form of which are evidently products of Keflexion ? It 
is obviously the Absolute Love : the Absolute, I say, 
or, as we may now express it, the Love of God towards 
his Ex-istence, or, the Love of that Ex-istence towards 
the living God. And what remains for Reflexion ? To 
give an objective standing to this substance, and to 
fashion it into an infinite succession of objective Forms. 
But even with reference to this last point, What is it 
then that prevents Reflexion from ever pausing in this 
work, and impels it incessantly forward from one Form 
towards another, and from this again to another, in end 
less succession ? It is the inextinguishable Love for 
that which necessarily escapes Reflexion, which lies con 
cealed- behind all Reflexion, and is therefore necessarily 
to be sought for behind all Reflexion, and under all its 
infinitely varied Forms, the pure and real Absolute ; 
this it is which impels Reflexion onward through Eter 
nity, and stretches it out into a living Eternity. Love 
is therefore higher than all Reason ; it is itself the 
fountain of Reason and the root of Reality ; the sole 
creator of Life and Time ; and thus I have finally de 
clared to you the highest, real point of view of a Doctrine 
of Being, Life, and Blessedness, that is, of true Spec 
ulation, towards which we have hitherto been gradually 

(Finally, Love, as it is the source of all truth and cer 
tainty generally, so is it the source of completed truth 
in the actual man and his life. Completed truth is 
SCIENCE; and the element of Science is Reflexion. 
Only when Science becomes clear to itself as the Love 
of the Absolute, and comprehends this Absolute, as it 
necessarily must, as lying wholly beyond all Reflexion, 
and inaccessible to it in any possible Form, does it 


attain to pure objective truth ; and only so does it be 
come capable of apprehending and distinguishing Re 
flexion, which formerly it had always confounded with 
Reality; of completely recognising and comprehending 
all the products of Reflexion in Reality ; and, thus, of 
laying the foundation of a Doctrine of Knowledge. In 
short, the Reflexion which has become Divine Love, 
and is therefore wholly absorbed in God himself, is the 
standpoint of Science : this I desired to avail myself of 
a fitting opportunity to mention in passing.) 

And now to present this to you in a form which may 
be easily retained, and also to connect it with an already 
familiar illustration : We have already twice translated 
the words of John " In the beginning was the Word," 
&c. into the language of our immediate theme : in the 
first instance, thus : " In the beginning, and absolutely 
associated with Being, was Ex-istence;" and then, in 
the second instance, after we had more distinctly recog 
nised the manifold inward modifications of Ex-istence, 
and had combined these together under the name Form, 
thus : " In the beginning, and absolutely associated with 
God, or Being, was Form." Now, however, since we 
have seen that Consciousness with all its manifold Forms, 
which before we had held to be the true Ex-istence, is 
but Ex-istence at second hand, and indeed the mere 
Appearance or Manifestation of Ex-isteuce, and have 
recognised the true and absolute Ex-istence, in its own 
proper Form, as Love; now, we render these same 
words, thus : " In the beginning, before all Time, and 
the absolute Creator of all Time, is Love ; and Love is in 
God, for it is his own act whereby he maintains himself 
in Ex-istence ; and Love is itself God, God is in it, and 
for ever abides in it, as he is in himself. By it, and from 
it, as the fundamental substance of all Ex-istence, are, 
by means of living Reflexion, all things made, and with- 
out it is not anything made that is made; and it for 


ever becomes flesh, in us and around us, and dwells 
among us ; and, if we will, we may behold for ever be 
fore our eyes, its glory, as the glory of the eternal and 
necessary Effluence of the Godhead." 

True Life is Love; and, as Love, holds and possesses 

within itself its own object the object of this Love 

bound up, interpenetrated, transfused, and wholly ab 
sorbed in it : eternally One and the same Love. It is 
not Love that sets up this object before it in outward 
representation and separates it into parts; it is Re 
flexion that does this. Thus, in so far as man is Love, 
and this he is always in the root of his Life, and 
can be nothing but this, although it may be that he is 
but the Love of himself, but especially in so far as he 
is the Love of God, he remains eternally and for ever 
one, true, and unchangeable as God himself, and is in 
deed in reality God himself; and it is not merely a 
bold metaphor, but a literal truth, that John utters when 
he says : " He who dwelleth in Love, dwelleth in God, 
and God in him." It is only his Reflexion that first 
separates him from this Love which is his own proper 
Being and not any foreign Being; and that strives, 
throughout a whole manifold infinity, to lay hold of that 
which he himself is and remains, now, everywhere, and 
for ever. Hence it is not his inward Essential Nature, 
that which is his own, which belongs to himself and 
to no other, that is subject to continual change ; but it 
is only the Appearance or Manifestation of this Nature, 
which in itself is withdrawn from outward Appearance, 
that suffers this continual change. Formerly we said : 
The eye of man conceals God from him, and separates 
the pure light into coloured rays. Now we say : The 
eye of man conceals God from him, only because he him 
self is concealed from himself by it, and because his 
vision never reaches his own true Being. What he sees 
is ever himself, as we also said formerly ; but he does 


not see himself as he truly is ; his Being is one, but his 
vision is infinite. 

Love necessarily enters into Reflexion, and manifests 
itself there immediately, as a Life which employs as its 
instrument a personal, sensuous Ex-istence, and thus as 
Individual Action ; and that indeed in a sphere peculiar 
to itself and lying beyond all Sensuousness in a wholly 
new World. Wherever the Divine Love is, there is 
necessarily this Manifestation ; for thus only does this 
Love reveal itself, and that without any new intervening 
principle ; and, on the contrary, where this Manifestation 
is not, there this Divine Love is not. It is altogether 
in vain to say to him who does not dwell in Love " Act 
morally," for only in Love does the Moral World arise, 
and without Love there is no such world ; and just as 
superfluous is it to say this to him who does dwell in 
Love, for his Love lives already of itself, and his activity, 
his moral Action, is merely the silent Manifestation of 
this his Life. The Action is nothing in and for itself, 
and it has no independent principle in itself; but it flows 
forth, calmly and silently, from Love, as light seems to 
flow forth from the sun, and as the World does actually 
flow forth from the inward Love of God to himself. If 
any man does not act, neither does he love ; and he who 
supposes that he loves, and yet does not act, in him 
imagination alone is excited by some picture of Love 
conveyed to him from without, to which picture there 
is within him no corresponding, inward, self-supporting 
reality. " If a man say I love God," thus speaks the 
same John, after representing brotherly love in a certain 
very just sense as in itself the Higher Morality " if a 
man say I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar ; " 
or, as we would say, in language more suitable to our 
age, although not a whit more tenderly, he is a sham, 
and has not the Love of God abiding in him ; abiding, 
I say, really indwelling within him, it is not the root 


of his true Life, but he can at most only picture it in 

Love is eternally complete, and contained within it 
self; and, as Love, it has ever within itself complete 
Reality ; it is Reflexion alone that separates and divides 
into parts. Hence, and thus we return to the point 
which we reached in our previous lecture, hence the 
division of the one Divine Life into different individuals 
does not by any means take place in Love but only in 
Reflexion. The individual, who is revealed to himself 
only in Action, and all other individuals who appear 
around him, are thus but the Manifestation of this one 
Love, not by any means the thing itself. In his own 
Action, Love must be manifest, for otherwise it would 
not be present ; but the moral Action of others is not to 
him the immediately apparent Manifestation of Love; 
hence the absence of this does not immediately prove the 
absence of Love ; therefore, as we said already in our 
previous lecture, he does not desire the Morality and 
Religion of others unconditionally, but only under the 
condition of their Freedom; and the absence of this 
general Morality does not disturb the peace of Love, 
which is wholly independent of everything beyond 

The Morality and Religion of the whole Spiritual World 
are closely connected with the Action of each particular 
individual, as effect with cause. The Moral-Religious 
Man desires to spread Morality and Religion universally. 
The distinction between his Religion and the Religion 
of others is but a distinction in Reflexion. The affection 
produced in him by success or failure must therefore take 
place according to the law of Reflexion. But, as we 
have already seen on another occasion, the peculiar 
affection of Reflexion is approbation or disapprobation ; 
not cold and indifferent, but the more passionate the 
more loving the nature of the man. Reflexion always 


bears with it an affection towards the Morality of others; 
and this Reflexion is highest of all in the Religious 
Man ; it is the true root of the World around him, 
which he embraces with affection, and which is, to him, 
purely and solely a Spiritual World. 

From what we have now said, we obtain the principles 
by which we may characterize more profoundly than we 
could do in our former lecture, the disposition of the Re 
ligious Man towards others; or what would be commonly 
called his Philanthropy. 

In the first place, there is nothing further removed 
from this Religious Philanthropy than a certain good-na 
tured indifferentism which accepts everything as equally 
good, and which we hear much bepraised now-a-days. 
This mode of thought, far from being the Love of God, is 
much rather that absolute shallowness and inward va 
grancy of a mind that is capable neither of love nor of 
hate, which we have sufficiently described in one of our 
earlier lectures. The Religious man does not concern 
himself about the physical happiness of the Human Race, 
unless it be his special calling to provide a fitting sub 
sistence for men ; he desires no happiness for them save 
in the ways of the Divine Order. He cannot desire to 
make them happy by means of outward circumstances, as 
little as God can desire this ; for the will and counsel of 
God, even with regard to his fellow-men, are always his. 
As it is the will of God that no one shall find peace and 
repose but in Him, and that men shall be continually 
driven onward by means of sorrows and vexations to re 
nounce themselves and to seek a refuge in God ; so is 
this also the will and wish of the man who is devoted to 
God. When they have again found their Being in God, 
he will love this Being ; their Being out of God he hates 
with a perfect hatred, and his very love towards their true 
Being consists in hate towards their degraded Being. 
" Think not that I come to bring peace on earth," says 


Jesus peace, that is, this same indifferent acceptance of 
things as they are ; no, since ye are such as ye are "I 
come not to bring peace but a sword." The Religious 
Man is likewise far removed from the well-known and 
much-commended effort of this same superficiality to put 
such a construction upon surrounding events as may en 
able it to maintain itself in this comfortable frame of 
mind : to explain them away, and to interpret them into 
the Good and the Beautiful. He wishes to see them as 
they are in truth ; and he does so see them, for Love 
sharpens his sight; he judges strictly but justly, and pene 
trates even to the very root of every prevalent mode of 

Having in his view what men might be, his ruling 
sentiment is a holy indignation at their actual existence^ 
so unworthy and void of honour. Seeing that in the pro- 
foundest depths of their nature they still bear within 
them the impress of the Divine, although it does not find 
its way to outward Manifestation ; considering that what 
they are accused of by others is the source of the greatest 
wretchedness to themselves, and that what men call their 
wickedness is but the outbreak of their own profound 
misery ; reflecting that they need but to stretch forth 
their hand to the Good that constantly surrounds them in 
order to become at once worthy and blessed ; seeing all 
this, he is filled with the deepest melancholy, the most 
heart-felt sorrow. His hate is awakened only by the fanati 
cism of perversity, which is not satisfied with being worth 
less in its own person, but, so far as its influence extends, 
endeavours to make all others as unworthy as itself, and 
which is profoundly irritated and moved to hatred at the 
sight of anything better than itself. For while the former 
is but the wretched work of Sin, the latter is the work of 
the Devil ; for the Devil also hates Goodness, not simply 
because it is good, which would be wholly unintelligible, 
but from envy, and because he himself cannot attain to 

o b 


it. Just as, according to our recent description, the man 
inspired of God desires that God alone, as He is in Him 
self, should be revealed in His glory, at all times, on all 
sides, and in all events, to him and to all his brethren ; 
so, on the contrary, he who is inspired of himself desires, 
that, to him and to his fellow-men, there should be re 
vealed at all times, on all sides, and in all events, only 
the image of his own worthlessness. By thus transcending 
his own individuality, he surpasses the human and na 
tural boundaries of Egoism, and makes himself the uni 
versal ideal and God ; all which the Devil also does in 
like manner. 

Finally, the Love of his fellow-men reveals itself in 
the Religious Man, unalterably determined and for ever 
remaining the same, in this : that he never, under any 
condition, ceases to labour for their ennoblement, and 
consequently never, under any condition, gives up his 
Hope in them. His action is indeed the necessary 
Manifestation of his Love ; but, on the other hand, this 
action necessarily proceeds towards an outward world, 
presupposes an outward world as its sphere, and assumes 
that he entertains the thought of something to be ac 
complished in this outward world. Without the extinc 
tion of this Love in him, neither his action, nor this 
thought necessarily assumed in his action, can ever cease. 
As often as it fails of the anticipated result, so often 
is he forced back upon himself to create, from the foun 
tain of Love that eternally flows within him, a new 
impulse, and new means of accomplishing his purpose ; 
and is thereby impelled to a fresh effort, and should even 
this fail, again to another; at each renewed attempt 
assuming that what has not hitherto been successful may 
yet be accomplished this time, or the next time, or at 
some future time ; or, even if it should not be accom 
plished at all by him individually, yet that, through his 


aid, and by means of his previous labours, it may be 
accomplished by some one following in his steps. Thus 
does Love become to him an ever-flowing fountain of 
Faith and Hope : not in God, for God is ever-present, 
living within him, and therefore he has no need of Faith 
to make that presence possible; and God ever gives 
Himself to him whole and perfect as He is in Himself, 
and therefore there is no room for Hope : but Faith in 
Man, and Hope in Man. By this firm and immovable 
Faith, this untiring Hope, he can raise himself, whenever 
he will, far above all the indignation or the sorrow with 
which he may be filled by the contemplation of present 
reality, and can invite into his heart the surest peace, 
the most indestructible repose. Let him look beyond the 
Present to the Future for that glance he has a whole 
Eternity before him, and may add to the vista cycle upon 
cycle, which to ^him are as nothing, as far as thought 
can reach. 

At last and where then is the end ? at last all must 
arrive at the sure haven of eternal Peace and Blessed 
ness ; at last the kingdom and the power and the glory 
O f God must surely come ! 

And thus have we gathered into one point the essential 
elements of a picture of the Blessed Life, in so far as 
such a picture is possible. Blessedness itself consists in 
Love, and in the eternal satisfaction of Love ; it is inac 
cessible to Reflexion ; it can only be negatively expressed 
by the Understanding, and therefore only negatively by our 
description which is the language of the understanding. 
We can only show that the Blessed are free from pain, 
trouble, and privation ; wherein their Blessedness posi 
tively consists cannot be described^ but must be imme 
diately felt. 


Unblessedness comes of doubt, which continually drags 
us to and fro, and of uncertainty, which spreads around 
us an impenetrable night in which our feet can find no 
sure path. The Religious Man is for ever secured from 
the possibility of doubt and uncertainty. In every pos 
sible moment he knows distinctly what he wills, and 
ought to will; for the innermost root of his Life his 
Will for ever flows forth from the Divinity, immediately 
and unmistakeably ; its indication is infallible, and for 
that indication he has an infallible perception. In every 
possible moment he knows assuredly that in all Eternity 
he shall know what he must will, and ought to will ; 
that in all Eternity the fountain of Divine Love which 
has burst forth in him shall never be exhausted, but 
shall uphold him securely, and lead him onward for ever. 
It is the root of his Existence ; it has now arisen upon 
him clear and -bright, and his eye is fixed upon it with 
unspeakable Love ; how could that fountain ever be 
dried up, how could his eye ever turn away from that 
Divine guide ? Whatever may come to pass around him, 
nothing appears to him strange or unaccountable; he 
knows assuredly, whether he understand it or not, that 
it is in God s World, and that there nothing can be that 
does not tend to Good. 

In him there is no fear for the Future, for the absolute 
fountain of all Blessedness eternally bears him on to 
wards it ; no sorrow for the Past, for in so far as he 
was not in God he was nothing, and this is now at an 
end, and only since he has dwelt in God has he been 
born into Life ; while in so far as he was in God, that 
which he has done is assuredly right and good. He has 
never aught to deny himself, nor aught to long for ; for 
he is at all times in eternal possession of the fulness of 
all that he is capable of enjoying. For him all labour 
and effort have vanished ; his whole outward Ex-istence 


flows forth, softly and gently, from his inward Being, and 
issues out into reality, without difficulty or hindrance. 
To use the language of one of our great Poets : 

" Ever pure and mirror-bright and even, 

Light as zephyr-breath of Heaven, 
Life amidst the Immortals glides away. 
Moons are waning, generations wasting, 
Their celestial youth blooms everlasting, 
Changeless midst a ruined world s decay." * 

Thus much have I desired to say to you in these lec 
tures, concerning the True Life and its Blessedness. It 
is true that we might say much more on this subject ; 
and that, in particular, it would be very interesting, now 
that we have learned to know the Moral-Religious Man 
in the central-point of his Being, to accompany him 
thence out into common life, and even into the most 
ordinary concerns and circumstances of his Existence, 
there to contemplate him in all his admirable serenity 
and loveliness. But without a fundamental knowledge 
of that first central-point such a description might be 
come, to the hearer, either empty declamation, or else a 
mere air-castle, producing indeed an aesthetic pleasure, 
but containing within itself no true ground of endu 
rance ; and this is the reason why we rather choose to 
abstain from this prolongation of our subject. As to 
principles, we have already said enough perhaps more 
than enough. 

In order that we may add a fitting conclusion to our 
whole work, I invite you here once again. 

Schiller s " Das Ideal und das Leben," Merivale s Translation. 

( 479 ) 



THE subject of our inquiry has been completely exhaust 
ed in our last lecture, so far as it can be here ex 
hausted ; and it only remains for me to point out its 
general practical application, respecting, of course, those 
limits which are imposed upon me by good manners, and 
by that free and liberal relation which these Lectures 
have established between you and me, and which this day 
brings to a close. 

It was my desire to establish between us the fullest 
possible understanding ; as it were, to penetrate you with 
myself, and in turn to be penetrated by you. I believe 
that I have actually expressed the ideas I had here to 
clothe in words, with a clearness that at least had not 
previously been attained, and also that I have suc 
ceeded in setting forth these ideas in their natural 
connexion. But even after the clearest exposition of 
such ideas, and after a very accurate comprehension of 
them, on the part of the audience, there may yet remain 
a great gulf fixed between the giver and the receiver; 
and the communication may fall far short of establishing 
the fullest possible understanding between them. In 
this Age of ours, we have to calculate upon this defect as 
the rule ; the opposite is the exception. 


There are two chief causes of this want of a thorough 
reception of proffered instruction in this Age. 

In the first place, the hearer does not give himself up 
with his whole mind, as he ought to do, to the instruc 
tion presented to him; he may perhaps approach it 
only with the understanding, or with the fancy. In the 
first case, he regards it merely with curiosity, or with the 
desire of knowing what shape and form it may assume ; 
but is otherwise indifferent about its substance > 
whether it may prove to be this, that, or the other 
thing. In the second case, he merely amuses himself 
with the succession of pictures, phenomena, pleasing 
words, and modes of speech that may be passed in review 
before his fancy, but is otherwise indifferent to the sub 
stance. He represents it to himself as something out of 
and separate from himself; and thus places it at a dis 
tance from himself, instead of trying it, as he ought, 
honestly by his own Love and seeing how it may answer 
to that. He then attributes this same disposition to the 
speaker, believing that he too has no other motive for 
his speculating than that he may pass the time in an 
agreeable way, letting his ingenuity and dialectic art be 
admired, producing fine phrases, and such like. But 
were he to put the question, even although it were only 
to his own heart, whether the speaker is himself ear 
nestly and vitally penetrated by what he says, and even 
to suppose that he wished so to penetrate others if he 
were able to do so, he would fear thereby to transgress 
the limits of individual right, insult the speaker, per 
haps even make him out to be a fanatic. Should this 
supposition not be made, where nevertheless it both 
could and should be made, then indeed no harm is done 
to the speaker, since he can easily disregard this foreign 
judgment which falls so far short of understanding his 
true meaning ; but harm is assuredly done to the hearer 
himself, for to him the imparted instruction is no more 


than what he takes it to be, and for him it contains no 
application to Life if he himself does not give it this 
application. This cold and indifferent contemplation by 
the Understanding alone is the characteristic of the 
scientific mode of thought ; all actual development of 
Science commences with this indifference towards the 
substance, and interest only in the correctness of the 
form; in this indifference it remains until it has 
attained its perfect form, flowing back, when thus com 
pleted, into Life to which all things are at last related. 
Our aim in the present lectures was not in the first in 
stance Scientific, notwithstanding that, in passing, I 
have frequently taken notice of the scientific wants of 
my hearers, so far as they were known to me, but it 
was practical. Now, therefore, at their close, we must at 
once avow that we have nothing to say against its being 
assumed that what we have said in these lectures has 
been said by us with entire and perfect earnestness ; 
that the principles we have asserted have, in our own 
case, arisen from Life and flowed back upon Life ; that 
we have certainly desired that these principles should 
also influence the Love and Life of our hearers; and 
that only in the event of such an influence having been 
actually exerted should we consider our object perfectly 
accomplished, and believe that our communication has 
been as complete as it ought to have been. 

A second obstacle to thorough communication in our 
Age is the prevalent maxim that we ought to embrace 
no party, and decide neither for nor against; a mode of 
thought which is called Scepticism, and assumes also 
many other distinguished names. We have already 
spoken of this mode of thought in the course of these 
lectures. It is founded upon an absolute want of Love, 
even in its most common form that of self-love; and 
this is the lowest grade of that vagrancy of mind which 
we have already described, in which man cannot trouble 

p b 


himself even about his own destiny ; or it is the wholly 
brutish opinion that Truth is of no value, and that no 
advantage can arise from the knowledge of it. In 
order to escape from this Scepticism, which does not 
by any means manifest acuteness, but, on the contrary, 
the lowest degree of stupidity, we must at least make 
up our minds as to whether there is any Truth at all, 
whether it is attainable by man, and whether, when at 
tained, it possesses any value for him. Now at the con 
clusion of these discourses, I must confess, that should 
any man not yet have attained to certainty on these 
points, even should he but find it necessary to ask time 
for consideration before resolving on a decisive yes or no 
with reference to the results we have announced, and 
perhaps, admitting the completeness of the statement, 
yet profess that he has not himself arrived at any judg 
ment on the matter, I must, I say, confess that the 
communication and mutual influence between such an 
one and myself has proved to be of the shallowest sort ; 
and that he has received only an addition to his existing 
store of possible opinions, whilst I intended something 
much better for him. To me it is not so certain as 
the sun in heaven or as this feeling of my own body, 
but infinitely more certain, that there is Truth, that it 
is attainable by man, and clearly conceivable by him. I 
am also firmly convinced that I, for my part, have seized 
upon this Truth from an assured point of view peculiar 
to myself, and with an assured degree of clearness ; for 
otherwise I should certainly have kept silence, and ab 
stained from teaching either by speech or writing. 
Finally, I am also firmly convinced that what I have 
declared, here as elsewhere, is that same eternal, un 
changeable Truth, which makes everything that is 
opposed to it Untruth ; for otherwise assuredly, I would 
not have thus taught it, but rather have taught whatever 
else I held to be Truth. For a long time it has been 


attempted, both in prose and in rhyme, among the great 
reading and writing public, to bring upon me the sus 
picion that I hold this last-mentioned singular opinion ; 
and I have frequently pled guilty to the charge in print. 
But printed letters do not blush, thus do my accusers 
seem to think, and they continue to entertain good hope 
of me that I shall, one day or other, become ashamed of 
this charge, which, for that purpose, they still continue 
to repeat; and I have therefore desired once for all, 
by word of mouth, in the presence of a numerous and 
honourable assembly, and looking them in the face, to 
confess the truth of this accusation against me. In all 
my attempts at communication with my fellow-men, and 
consequently in these discourses also, it has ever been, in 
the first place, my earnest purpose and aim, by every 
means in my power, to make that which I myself have 
perceived clear and intelligible to others, and, in so far 
as it lay with me, to force them to such comprehension ; 
being well assured that a conviction of the truth and 
justice of what I had taught would then follow of itself; 

and thus it has certainly been my aim, at all times, 

and consequently at this time, to " disseminate my con 
victions," to " make proselytes," or by whatever other 
phrase they who hate this design, which I thus candidly 
avow, may choose to describe it. That modesty which 
is so frequently, and in so many ways, recommended to 
me, which says : " See, here is my opinion, and how I 
for my part regard the matter, although I am likewise 
of opinion that this opinion of mine is no better than 
all the other opinions that have arisen since the begin 
ning of the world, or those that will arise even till its 
en d such modesty, I say, I cannot assume, for rea 
sons which I have already adduced, and likewise for this 
reason : that I consider such modesty to be the greatest 
immodesty ; and even hold it to be a frightful arrogance, 
and worthy of all abhorrence, to suppose that any one 


should desire to know how we personally regard the 
matter; or to open our mouth to teach, so long as we 
are not conscious of Knowledge but only of mere Opinion. 
When it has happened that my hearers have not under 
stood me, and for that reason have not been convinced, 
I have then had no alternative but submission ; for 
there are no outward logical means of compelling under 
standing, since understanding and conviction arise only 
from the inmost depths of Life and its Love ; but to 
submit beforehand to this want of understanding, and 
to reckon upon it, even during instruction, as upon a 
necessary result, this I cannot do, and have never done, 
either at any previous time or in these lectures. 

These obstacles to a more intimate and fruitful com 
munication upon subjects of earnest thought are con 
stantly maintained and renewed, even in those who pos 
sess both the desire and the power of rising superior to 
them, by means of the daily influences that surround us 
in this Age. When my meaning shall appear more 
distinctly, you will perceive that I have hitherto neither 
directly mentioned these things, nor indirectly hinted at 
them ; now, however, after mature reflexion and con 
sideration, I have determined, in concluding, to explore 
the nature of these influences, to try them by their own 
principles ; and, by means of this deeper investigation, 
to arm you against them for the future, so far as I, or 
any other foreign power can do so. 

I shall not be withheld from doing this by the almost 
universal hatred which, as I am well aware, is enter 
tained against what is called polemics ; for this hatred 
itself proceeds from that very influence which I under 
take to combat, and is indeed one of its chief elements. 
Where this hatred has not yet become something still 
more worthless and contemptible, of which more here 
after, it is at least a diseased aversion to all that strict 
distinction and discrimination which is necessarily pro- 


duced by controversy; and the unconquerable love of 
that confusion and vagrancy of spirit, in which the most 
opposite things are confounded, and which we have al 
ready sufficiently described. 

As little shall I be withheld from this investigation by 
the admonition which one hears so frequently : that 
we should rise superior to such things and despise them. 
It is surely not to be expected that, in our Age, any 
man of character who is possessed of clear knowledge 
should fail to despise the supposition that he could, in 
his own person, be hurt or degraded by a judgment pro 
ceeding from such surroundings ; and such admonishers 
perhaps do not consider what fulness of contempt they 
themselves deserve, and often indeed immediately receive, 
through their first reminding us of the contempt which 
is due from us to such things. 

I shall not be withheld from this investigation by the 
common supposition that we wrangle and dispute only in 
order to gratify personal feelings, and to retaliate upon 
those who have injured us in some way; by which 
supposition weak men, who are ignorant of any certain 
truth and of its value, think they have obtained a 
creditable ground for hating and despising, with seeming 
justice, those polemics which otherwise would drive 
them from their propriety. That any one should believe 
that we could set ourselves in opposition to anything 
upon mere personal grounds, proves nothing more than 
that such an one, for his part, would himself do so mere 
ly upon such grounds ; and that, should he at any time 
enter into controversy, mere personal ill-will would cer 
tainly be his motive for doing so ; and here then we 
willingly accept the counsel given to us above to despise 
such things : for that such an one should, without far 
ther proo set us down as his fellow, is an insult which 
can only be repaid with contempt, and will be so requited 
by every honest man. 


Neither shall I be withheld from this investigation by 
its being said that there are but few who speak or think 
thus ; for this assertion is simply a falsehood, with which 
the culpable timidity of better men imposes upon itself. 
At a moderate calculation, ninety-nine out of every 
hundred among the cultivated classes in Germany think 
thus ; and in the highest circles, which give the tone to 
all the others, this Scepticism is most virulent ; and 
therefore the party we have indicated cannot at present 
decrease but must increase. And even if there are but 
few speakers belonging to it, and but few who publish 
its sentiments through the press, this arises only from 
the speakers being always, and in every case, the fewer 
in number; while the portion who do not print anything 
read, and refresh themselves in the secret silence of 
their minds with the published expression of their own 
sentiments. That this is indeed the case with the last- 
mentioned section of this party, and that we do no in 
justice to the public by this accusation, becomes indis 
putably manifest so soon as they get into a passion, 
however carefully they may watch over their expressions 
so long as they preserve their composure; and this 
always ensues when any one attacks one of their speak 
ers and mouthpieces. Then they all arise, man by man, 
and unite against the common enemy, as if each indi 
vidual thought himself attacked in his own dearest pos 

Thus although we may set aside and disregard the 
individual persons composing this party who are known 
to us, yet we ought not to dismiss the thing itself with 
mere contempt ; since it is held by the decisive majority 
of the Age ; nay, carries with it almost universal con 
sent, and will long continue to do so. The careful avoid 
ance of any contact with such things, under the pretext 
of being superior to them, is not unlike cowardice; and 
it seems as if one was afraid of soiling one s fingers in 


those dim corners ; while, on the contrary, the potent 
sun-light must be able to disperse the darkness of these 
dens, without necessarily absorbing any part of it. It 
cannot indeed open the eyes of the blind inhabitants of 
the dens, but it may enable the seeing to perceive what 
goes on there. 

In our former lectures * we have shown, adverting to 
it also from time to time in these, that the mode of 
thought prevalent in this Age precisely reverses the 
ideas of Honour and Shame, regarding what is in truth 
dishonourable as its real glory, and the truly honourable 
as its shame. Thus, as must be immediately evident to 
every one who has listened to us with calm attention, 
the above-mentioned Scepticism, which the Age is accus 
tomed to honour under the name of acuteness, is ob 
vious stupidity, shallowness, and weakness of under 
standing. Most especially and preeminently, however, 
this total perversity of the Age is exhibited in its judg 
ment of Religion. I must have altogether wasted my 
words if I have not made this much at least evident to 
you, that all Irreligion goes no further than the surface 
of things and mere empty show ; that it therefore 
presupposes a want of strength and energy of mind, and 
consequently betrays weakness both of intellect and 
character; that Religion, on the contrary, raising itself 
above mere appearance, and penetrating to the very 
nature of things, necessarily exhibits the most excellent 
use of the spiritual powers, the greatest depth and acute- 
ness of thought, and the highest strength of character, 
which is indeed inseparable from these ; that, therefore, 
according to the principles by which we pass judgment 
upon Honour, the Irreligious Man must be held in light 
esteem and despised ; the Religious Man, on the con 
trary, highly honoured. The mode of thought prevalent 

* " Characteristics of the Present Age." 


in this Age completely reverses all this. With the 
majority of the men of our day, nothing is more im 
mediate and certain disgrace than for any one to allow 
himself to be penetrated by a religious thought or sen 
timent ; consequently nothing can more surely bring 
honour to a man than to keep himself free from such 
thoughts or sentiments. What appears to furnish some 

excuse to the Age for holding such an opinion, is this : 

that it can conceive of Religion only as Superstition, 
and that it thinks it has a right to despise this Super 
stition as something to which it is vastly superior ; and, 
since this Superstition and Religion are identical, there 
fore to despise all Religion. Herein its total want of 
understanding, with the immeasurable ignorance arising 
therefrom, plays it two mischievous tricks at once. For, 
in the first place, it is not true that the Age is superior 
to Superstition ; the Age, as one may plainly see at 
every turn, is yet essentially filled with Superstition, for 
it trembles with terror whenever the root of its Super 
stition is even touched by any powerful hand. Besides, 
and this is the chief thing, Superstition is itself the 
absolute antipodes of Religion ; it is even Irreligion 
merely in another form ; it is the melancholy form of 
Irreligion, while that which the Age would willingly 
assume if it could, merely as a liberation from that me 
lancholy, is the gay form of Irreligion. Now, we can 
easily understand how a man may enjoy a slightly more 
comfortable frame of mind in the latter state than in 
the former, and one cannot grudge men this little im 
provement in their condition ; but how Irreligion, which, 
notwithstanding this change in its outward form, still 
remains essentially the same, can by such change become 
reasonable and worthy of honour, no man of understand 
ing will ever comprehend. 

Thus the majority of the Age unconditionally scorn 
and despise Religion. How then do they find it prac- 


ticable to give outward expression to this scorn ? Do 
they assail Religion with argument? How could that 
be, since they know nothing whatever about Religion ? 
Or perhaps with derision ? How could that be, since 
even derision necessarily presupposes some conception of 
that which is derided, which they have not ? No ! they 
only repeat word for word that, here or there, such or 
such things have been said, which may perhaps refer to 
Religion; and then without adding anything of their 
own, they laugh, and of course every polite person laughs 
with them for company; not by any means as if the 
first or any of his followers were actually moved to 
laughter by a really comic representation in his own 
mind, which indeed is wholly impossible without some 
conception of what is laughed at, but only in accord 
ance with the general agreement ; and so, by and by, the 
whole company laugh together without any single indi 
vidual among them being conscious of any ground for 
laughter, although each one supposes that his neighbour 
perchance may have some such ground. 

To continue our illustration by reference to present 
circumstances, and indeed to our immediate occupation 
here. The story of how I was first induced to deliver a 
course of popular philosophical lectures to a mixed 
audience in this city would carry us too far. This, how 
ever, once got over, every one who has any acquaintance 
whatever with the subject will understand, that if the 
purely scientific purpose be laid aside, there is nothing 
left in Philosophy, generally interesting or generally in 
telligible to a mixed audience, but Religion. That the 
awakening of religious sentiment would be the true and 
proper purpose of these addresses, I distinctly announced 
at the conclusion of my lectures of last winter,* which 
are now in print, and in print for this same purpose ; 

* " Characteristics of the Present Age." 



and I added by way of explanation, that those lectures 
were but a preparation for this purpose, and that in 
them we had traversed only the principal sphere of the 
Religion of the Understanding, while we had left alto 
gether untouched the whole sphere of the Religion of 
Reason. It was to be expected of me that, if I should 
ever resume these discourses, I should resume them 
where I had left off. Further, it was requisite that I 
should describe the subject of such popular lectures in 
a popular way; and I found that the title, " The Way 
towards the Blessed Life," would completely and truly 
characterize these lectures. I still believe that I have 
not erred in this; and you yourselves can determine, 
now that you have heard the matter to an end, whether 
you have heard me point out the Way towards the 
Blessed Life, and whether you have heard anything else 
than this. And thus it came to pass that an announce 
ment to that effect was made in the public journals, 
which to this moment seems to me quite fitting and 

It could not, however, be unexpected on my part, and 
indeed it seemed to me quite as natural as my announce 
ment itself, that to a majority such as we have described, 
my announcement and my whole undertaking should 
seem preeminently comic, and that they should discover 
in it a rich source of laughter. I should have found it 
quite natural for publishers of newspapers and editors 
of pamphlets to place regular reporters in my lecture- 
hall, in order to guide into their own channels the foun 
tain of the ridiculous which was here flowing forth in 
such abundance and thus employ it for the amusement 
of their readers. " The Way towards the Blessed Life ! 
We do not know indeed what the man may mean by 
Life, or by Blessed Life, but it is a strange collocation of 
words which have never before reached our ears in this 
connexion ; it is easy to see that nothing will come of 


this but tilings which no well-bred man would choose to 
mention in good society ; and, in any case, could not the 
man have foreseen that we should laugh at him ? and 
since, if he were a reasonable man, he would have desired 
to avoid this at all hazards, his unpolished stupidity is 
manifest. We shall have a laugh beforehand, in accord 
ance with the general agreement; and then during this 
operation some idea may perchance occur to one of us by 
which to justify our laughter." 

Nor is it altogether impossible that such an idea might 

be discovered. For example, might it not be said : 

" How blessed is the man himself to be esteemed, who 
seeks to show others the Way towards the Blessed Life!" 
At first glance the sally seems rather witty ; but let us 
take patience to cast a second glance upon it. Suppose 
the case that he who is spoken of rests calm and tranquil 
in clear possession of his own principles ; have you not 
done him an unmerited insult by thus speaking of him ? 
"Yes, but then to speak so of himself, is not that 
shameless self-praise?" To have spoken directly of 
himself, that surely he could not do ; for a discreet man 
must have other topics besides himself on which to speak, 
if he will speak. But suppose that in the assertion that 
there is a certain mode of thought by which peace and 
tranquillity are spread over Life, and that in the promise 
to communicate this mode of thought to others there is 
necessarily contained the assumption that one does him 
self possess it ; and, since nothing but peace can thereby 
arise, that he has likewise, by means of it, attained this 
peace and tranquillity; and also that it is impossible to 
announce the first of these assumptions in a rational way 
without at the same time tacitly recognising the other ; 
then we must let the result be as it will. And would 
it then be such gross presumption, and give room for 
such inextinguishable laughter, if such an one, compelled 
by the connexion of his subject, had let it be known that 


he did not regard himself either as a blockhead or as a 
bad and miserable man ? 

And this, indeed, is precisely the peculiar impudence 
and peculiar absurdity of the majority of whom we now 
speak ; and in what we have just said, we have brought 
to light the innermost principle of their Life. Accord 
ing to the principle which, although it may perhaps be 
unperceived by this majority, yet lies at the bottom of 
all their judgments, all intercourse among men ought to 
be founded on the tacit assumption that we are all in 
the same way miserable sinners ; he who regards others 
as anything better than this is a fool, and he who re 
presents himself to be anything better is a presumptuous 
coxcomb ; both should be laughed at. Miserable sin 
ners in Art and Science : none of us indeed can either 
know or do anything; we nevertheless each like to have 
our say; let us humbly acknowledge and grant this 
among ourselves, and so agree to talk and let others 
talk ; but he who misinterprets this bargain and con 
ducts himself in real earnest, as if he actually knew and 
could do something, acts in opposition to the agreement, 
and is a presumptuous fool. Miserable sinners in Life : 
the ultimate purpose of all our emotions and endeav 
ours is to improve our outward circumstances, who 
does not know that ? the conventional mode of life 
indeed requires that this should not exactly be said to 
others in so many words, for then others would be com 
pelled to admit it in words, and to avoid this, certain 
conventional pretexts have been set up ; but each one 
must be supposed tacitly to assume it, and he who sets 
himself in opposition to this tacit assumption is not 
only a presumptuous fool, but a hypocrite into the 

From the principle to which we have adverted arises 
the well-known complaint which is made against the few 
in the nation who are animated by better principles a 


complaint which we hear everywhere, and everywhere 
may read ; the complaint : " What ! the man will speak 
to us of the Beautiful and the Noble ! How little does 
he know us ! Let him give us, in insipid jests, the true 
picture of our own trivial and frivolous life ; that pleases 
us, and then he is our man and has a knowledge of his 
Age. We indeed see well enough that that which we do 
not desire is excellent, and that that which pleases us is 
bad and miserable ; but yet we desire only the latter, 
for such indeed we are." From this principle also pro 
ceed all the accusations of arrogance and presumption 
which the authors make against each other in print, and 
the men of the world against each other in words ; and 
the whole amount of the recognised coinage of wit which 
passes current among the public. I pledge myself, if 
the problem should be proposed, to trace back the whole 
store of ridicule in the world, setting aside at most a 
mere fraction for other causes, either to this principle : 
" He knows not yet that men are miserable sinners," or 
to this other : " He thinks himself something better 
than all of us besides," or to both of these principles 
put together. Usually the two principles are found 
united. Thus, to the mind of the majority, the ridicu 
lousness of attempting to point out the " Way towards the 
Blessed Life," did not consist merely in my believing 
that I could point out such a way, but also in my assum 
ing that I should find hearers, and especially hearers 
who should return to a second lecture with the intention 
of having this way pointed out to them ; and, in case I 
should find such, in their believing that they should 
find here anything which they could carry away with 

In this supposition of the common sinfulness of all 
men the majority live on; this supposition they require 
every one to make ; and he who on the contrary rejects 
it, him they laugh at if they are in a good humour, or 


get angry with if they are irritated; which latter is 
usually the case when, for instance, they encounter such 
searching investigations into their true nature as the 
present has been. Through this very supposition they 
thus become bad, profane, irreligious, and all the more so 
the longer they abide in it. On the contrary, the good 
and honest man, although he acknowledges his defects 
and unweariedly labours to amend them, yet does not 
esteem himself radically bad and essentially a sinner; 
for he who recognizes himself as such in his own nature 
is thereby reconciled to it, and consequently is so and 
remains so. Besides what is deficient in him, the good 
man also recognizes what he is possessed of, and must 
recognize it for he has to make use of it. That he 
does not give the honour to himself is understood ; for 
he who still has a self, in him assuredly there is no 
thing good. Just as little does he assume men to be bad, 
and to be miserable sinners, in his actual intercourse 
with them, whatever he may think theoretically of the 
society around him ; but he assumes them on the con 
trary to be good. With the sinfulness that is in them 
he has nothing to do, and to that he does not address 
himself; but he addresses himself to the good that is 
assuredly in them, although it may be concealed. With 
respect to whatever ought not to be in them, he does not 
even assume its existence, but acts towards them as if it 
were not there ; while, on the contrary, he calculates with 
confidence on everything that, according to existing cir 
cumstances, ought to be in them, as upon something that 
must be, something that is to be assumed, and from 
which they can on no account be released. For example: 
should he teach, it is not by mere listless vagrancy 
that he desires to be understood, but only by earnest 
attention ; for such listless vagrancy ought not to be ; 
and besides it is of far more importance that a man 
should learn to be attentive than that he should learn 


particular doctrines. He will not spare nor conciliate 
the aversion to ascertained truth, but he will defy it ; 
for this aversion ought not to exist, and he who cannot 
endure truth ought not to receive it at his hands; 
firmness of character is of far higher value than any 
positive truth, and without the former no one is capable 
of appropriating anything resembling the latter. But 
will he not then seek to delight and influence others? 
Certainly : but only by means of what is just and right, 
and only in the way of the Divine Order ; in any other 
way than this he will assuredly neither influence nor 
delight them. It is a very complacent supposition, in 
dulged in by that majority, that there is many an ex 
cellent man, in art, in doctrine, or in life, who is most 
anxious to please them; only that he does not know 
how to set about it rightly because he is not sufficiently 
versed in the depths of their character, and that there 
fore they must tell him how they would wish to have it 
done. What if he understood them far more deeply than 
they themselves shall ever be able to understand them 
selves, but did not care to make this knowledge apparent 
in his intercourse with them only because he did not care 
to gratify them, or to accommodate himself to them, until 
they themselves had first become worthy of his regard ? 

And thus, with the delineation of what we usually see 
around us in this Age, I have also pointed out the means 
by which we may rise superior to it and separate our 
selves from it. Let a man only not be ashamed of being 
wise, even if he alone be wise in a world of fools ! As 
to their ridicule : let him but have courage not to join 
in the laugh, but to keep his earnestness for a moment 
and look ^the thing in the face ; he shall not thereby 
lose his laugh, for in such cases true wit lies in the 
background, and belongs to us ; and just in as far as the 
good man outweighs the bad, in so far does his wit also 
outweigh that *of the bad. As to their love and their 


approbation: let him but have courage resolutely to 
forego it, for in any case he can never obtain it without 
becoming bad himself; and it is this alone that so 
cripples and weakens even the better men of our day, 
and so hinders their mutual recognition of each other 
and their union among themselves, that they will not 
give up the attempt to unite two things that never can 
be united, their own uprightness and the applause of the 
crowd, and cannot determine to know the bad only as 
bad. If a man has once raised himself above this hope 

and this want, then he has nothing more to fear : Life 

proceeds in its accustomed course ; and though the 
world may hate, it cannot really harm him ; nay, after it 
also has had to abandon the hope of making us like it 
self, its ill-will decreases, and it becomes more disposed 
to accept and use us as we are : or, in the worst case, a 
good man, if he be but resolute and consistent, is 
stronger than a hundred bad men. 

And now I believe that I have said everything to you 
that I intended to say, and here I close these lectures; 
not unconditionally desiring your approval, but, should 
it be accorded to me, then so desiring it that it may do 
honour both to you and to me. 





THE following Outline of the Doctrine of Knowledge (Die 
Wissenschaftslehre in ihrem dllgemeinen Umrisse) was printed 
by Fichte for the use of his students at the close of his lectures 
in the Spring of 1810, preliminary to the formal opening of the 
University of Berlin, of which he was the first Eector. Al 
though not properly belonging to what we have called his 
" Popular Works," being indeed a severely condensed summary 
of the Wissenschaftslehre in its strictly scientific form, demand 
ing close and sustained attention even from the student, it 
may nevertheless be of service to the general reader as a 
chart wherein he may be enabled to recognise the doctrines ex 
pounded in the more popular writings, and especially in " The 
Doctrine of Keligion," and to trace their connexion with the 
general scheme of philosophy. It may therefore be regarded 
as a fitting appendix to these volumes. 

W. S. 



THE Doctrine of Knowledge, apart from all special and 
definite knowing, proceeds immediately upon Knowledge 
itself, in the essential unity in which it recognises Know 
ledge as existing ; and it raises this question in the first 
place : How this Knowledge can come into being, and 
what it is in its inward and essential Nature ? 

The following must be apparent : There is but One 
who is absolutely by and through himself, namely, 
God ; and God is not the mere dead conception to which 
we have thus given utterance, but he is in himself pure 
Life. He can neither change nor determine himself in 
aught within himself, nor become any other Being ; for 
his Being contains within it all his Being and all pos 
sible Being, and neither within him nor out of him can 
any new Being arise. 

If, therefore, Knowledge must be, and yet be not God 
himself, then, since there is nothing but God, it can 
only be God out of himself, God s Being out of his 
Being, his Manifestation, in which he dwells wholly as 
lie is in himself, while within himself he also still re 
mains wholly such as he is. But such a Manifestation 
is a picture or Schema.* 

* The word Schema here employed by Fichte as representing the 
Manifestation of the Infinite, and which is left untranslated, may be re 
garded by the general reader as the equivalent of the Logos of Plato, 
the Word of the Fourth Gospel, the Divine Idea 1 of The Nature of 
the Scholar (vol. i.), and the Ex-istence (Daseyn) of God of The Doc 
trine of Religion (vol. ii.) 


If there be such a Schema and this can only become 

evident through its immediate being, seeing that it is 

immediate it can only be because God is ; and, so 

surely as God is, it cannot but be. It is, however, by no 

means to be conceived of as a work of God, effected by 

some particular act, whereby a change is wrought in 

/"himself; but it is to be conceived of as an immediate 

Inconsequence of his Being. It is absolutely, according to 

the Form of his Being, just as he himself is absolutely; 

although it is not he himself, but his Schema. 

Again : Out of God there can be nothing whatever 
but this ; no Being that is essentially independent, for 
that he alone is; only his Schema can there be out of 
him, and thus a Being out of God signifies merely his 
Schema; the two expressions mean precisely the same 


Further : Since it cannot be overlooked by the Doc 
trine of Knowledge that Actual Knowledge does by no 
means present itself as a Unity, such as is assumed 
above, but as a Multiplicity, there is consequently a 
second task imposed upon it, that of setting forth the 
ground of this apparent Multiplicity. It is of course 
understood that this ground is not to be derived from 
any outward source, but must be shown to be contained 
in the essential Nature of Knowledge itself as such ; 
and that therefore this problem, although apparently 
two-fold, is yet but one and the same, namely, to set 
forth the essential Nature of Knowledge. 


This Being out of God cannot, by any means, be a 
limited, completed, and inert Being, since God himself 


is not such a dead Being, but, on the contrary, is Life; 
but it can only be a Power, since only a Power is the 
j| true formal picture or Schema of Life. And indeed it 
can only be the Power of realizing that which is con 
tained m itself a Schema. Since this Power is the 
expression of a determinate Being the Schema of the 
Divine Life it is itself determined; but only in the 
way in which an absolute Power may be determined, 
by laws, and indeed by determinate laws. If this or 
that is to become actual, the Power must operate in this 
way or that, subject to that determination. 


Thus in the first place : There can be an Actual 
Being out of God only through the self-realization of 
this absolute Power: this Power, however, can only 
produce pictures or Schemae, which by combination be 
come Actual Knowledge. Thus, whatever exists out of 
God, exists only by means of absolutely free Power, as 
the Knowledge belonging to this Power, and in its 
Knowledge ; and any other Being but this out of the 
true Being which lies hidden in God is altogether im 


Again, as to the determination of this Power by laws : 
It is, in the first place, determined through itself, as 
the Power of Actual Knowledge. But it is essential to 
Actual Knowledge that some particular Schema should 
be realized through this Power ; and then that through 
the same identical Power, in the same identical position, 
this Schema should be recognised as a Schema, and as 


a Schema not in itself independent, but demanding, as a 
condition of its Ex-istence, a Being out of itself. The 
immediate and concrete expression of this recognition, 
which in Actual Knowledge never attains to conscious 
ness, but which is elevated into consciousness only by 
means of the Doctrine of Knowledge, is Actual Know 
ledge itself in its Form ; and, in consequence of this 
latter recognition, there is, of necessity, assumed an Ob 
jective Reality, wholly transcending the Schema and in 
dependent of Knowledge. Since in this Knowledge of 
the Objective Reality, even the Schema itself is con 
cealed, much more is the Power which creates it con 
cealed and unseen. This is the fundamental law of the 
Form of Knowledge. So surely therefore as the Power 
develops itself in this particular way, it develops itself 
as we have described ; not merely schematizing, but also 
schematizing the Schema as a ^chema, and recognising 
it in its dependent nature ; not that it must uncon 
ditionally do this, but that only by means of this process 
can it attain to Actual Knowledge. 

In consequence of this there is much that remains 
invisible in Actual Knowledge, but which, nevertheless, 
really is as the manifestation of this Power. If there 
fore this, and all other manifestation of this Power, were 
to be imported into Knowledge, then could this only oc 
cur in a Knowledge other than that first mentioned.; and 
thus would the unity of Knowledge necessarily be broken 
up into separate parts, by the opposition of the law of 
the form of visibility to that law by which Knowledge 
perceives itself as a perfect and indivisible whole. 


Further : Within this its Formal Being, this Power 
is also determined by an unconditional Imperative. It 


shall recognise itself as the Schema of the Divine Life, 
which it is originally, and through which alone it has 
Existence ; consequently this is its absolute vocation, in 
which its efficiency as a Power is completely exhausted. 
It shall recognise itself as the Schema of the Divine 
Life, but it is originally nothing more than a Power, 
although most assuredly it is this determinate Power of 
the Schema of God : if it is to recognise itself as such 
a Schema in Reality, then it must make itself so actually, 
by the realization of the Power by its self-realization. 


The recognition of itself as a Power to which an un 
conditional Imperative is addressed, and which is able 
to fulfil that Imperative^* and the actual realization of 
this Power, should the latter come to pass, are distinct 
from each other ; and the possibility of the latter is 
dependent on the previous accomplishment of the former. 

It shall recognise itself as the Divine Schema, not 
by means of any Being inherent in itself, for there is 
no such Being, but by means of the realization of the 
Power. It must therefore previously possess the know 
ledge that it is such a Power, and also by what marks 
it may recognise itself in its self-realization, in order 
that it may direct its attention to these characteristic 
marks, and so be enabled to judge of the realization 
which they denote. 

Or it may be regarded thus : By means of the realiza 
tion of the Power there arises a Schema, and a con 
sciousness of that which is contained in the Schema, and 
not more than this. ( Y.) The formal addition, which 
lies beyond the immediate contents of the Schema, i.e. 
that it is the Schema of God, is not immediately con- 

s b 


tained in it; and can only be attributed to it in con 
sequence of some characteristic mark perceived in the 
actual realization of the Power. The characteristic mark 

is this: that the Power realize itself, with absolute 

Freedom, in accordance with the recognised universal 


If it shall recognise itself as a Power to which an 
unconditional Imperative is addressed, it must, previous 
to this definite recognition, have also recognised itself 
generally as a Principle ; and since it can only recognise 
itself by means of its own self-development, it must 
necessarily develop itself before being able to recognise 
itself immediately as the Principle in this development. 
The necessity for this is contained in the intention that 
the Imperative shall become visible to it ; and it may 
therefore be named a necessity of the Imperative a shall 
of the shall namely, a necessity of its visibility : con 
sequently this Imperative-^^hjs L shall lies in the primi 
tive determination of the Power through its Being from 
God. Since, when it does not recognise itself generally 
as a Principle, it cannot, in the same position and at the 
same time, recognise itself in any more definite form, it 
is clear that these two modes of Knowledge are separate 
and distinct from each other. We call Knowledge by 
means of an immediate invisible principle Intuition. 


Since neither the Power itself as such, nor the Divine 
Life, is schematized in Intuition, by which indeed there 


is first introduced the practical possibility of such sche 
matizing, it is clear that there is nothing left remain 
ing in Intuition but the mere Form of Power as given 
in its immediate expression. It is ( V.) a Power of 
Contemplation, and that indeed without direction to 
wards the one Divine Life, which from this standing- 
point remains concealed; an undefined, wholly inde 
terminate, and yet absolute Power, and hence an In 
finite. It therefore schematizes itself as contemplating 
an infinity in one glance : SPACE ; it consequently thus 
also schematizes itself as contracting and limiting itself, 
in the same undivided Intuition, to a point in that first 
infinity, a point which in itself is likewise infinitely 
divisible, a consolidated infinite Space within the other 
simple infinite Space, or MATTER ; thus as an infi 
nite Power of self-concentration, and consequently also 
as an unlimited Material World in Space : all which, 
according to the fundamental law of Knowledge which 
we have already adduced ( V.) must appear to it as 
actual, self-existent Being. 

Further : by virtue of its merely formal power of 
Being, it is an absolutely primitive Principle. In order 
to schematize itself as such in Intuition, it must, ante 
cedent to its actual activity, perceive a possible form of 
activity which thus it must seem to it it either might 
or might not be able to realize. This possible form of 
activity cannot be perceived by it in the Absolute Im 
perative, which to this point of view is invisible ; hence 
it can only be perceived in a likewise blindly schematized 
Causality, which indeed is not an immediate Causality, 
but only appears to become so through the apparent 
realization of the Power. But such a Causality is an 
Instinct. It was necessary that the Power should feel 
itself impelled to this or that form of activity, but with 
out the source of the impulse being immediately per 
ceived, since such an immediate recognition would deprive 


it of the appearance of Freedom, which is here an in 
dispensable characteristic. 

This activity demanded by Instinct can only be an 
activity exercised on the Material World. Hence the In 
stinct to activity comes into view in immediate relation 
to material existences ; these are consequently recognised 
in this immediate relation, and acquire, through this re 
lation, not merely extension in Space, but, even more, 
their internal qualities : and by this remark we have 
completed the definition of material existences, which 
was before left incomplete. 

Should the Power, by means of this Instinct and the 
consequent appearance of self-determination, perceive it 
self as in a state of real activity, then, in the percep 
tion of this activity, it would be associated with the 
Material World in the same undivided Form of Intuition; 
and hence in this Intuition, thus uniting it with the 
Material World, it would perceive itself as a material 
existence in a double relation to the Material World : 
partly as Sense, that it might feel the relation of that 
world to its Instinct, partly as Organism, that it might 
contemplate its own activity therein. 

In this activity it now beholds itself as the same iden 
tical Power in a state of self-determination ; but as not 
exhausted in any form of its activity, and as thus re 
maining a Power ad infinitum. In this perception of its 
unlimited Power there arises before it an Infinity ; not 
in one glance, like that first mentioned, but an Infinity 
in which it may behold its own infinite activity ; an 
infinite series of successive links : TIME. Since this 
activity can be exercised ad infinitum only on the Ma 
terial World, Time is likewise transferred to that world 
in the unity of Intuition, although that world already 
possesses its own peculiar expression of Infinitude in the 
infinite divisibility of SPACE and of all its parts. 

It is obvious that the position in which the Power 


gives itself up wholly to the contemplation of the Ma 
terial World and is exhausted therein, is distinct from 
that in which it becomes cognizant of its Instinct to 
wards activity in this previously recognised World ; 
that nevertheless there remains, even in the latter posi 
tion, a Schema of present and necessary Existence, in 
order that it may